News | Published March 23 2020

Government 'lock down' criticised by a2e boss

‘The government must focus on protecting the people most at risk while also encouraging the economic prowess of those not at risk, in order to keep the country running.’

That’s the view of Amin Amiri, the CEO of a2e, an organistion who invests in and helps turn around mid-market businesses, principally in the industrial/manufacturing sector.

Speaking to The Parliamentary Review, Mr Amiri, who is responsible for the welfare of over 1,000 people across all the businesses he helps to oversee, warned that the government’s current strategy has already caused ‘irrational consumer behaviour’ and may indeed ‘lead to a massive economic disaster.’

Mr Amiri believes it was a fundamental mistake to shut down schools, as the government did on Friday. He also believes that the total shutdown of restaurants, pubs and bars was a mistake.

‘There is no logic in closing schools,’ he said, ‘while keeping them open for children of essential workers. We know that children and ninety percent of teachers are not at risk [from Covid-19].

‘This measure only forces more able people to abandon work, while the psychological impact on the children not attending school will be immense.’

Instead of the complete shut-down favoured by most European countries, Mr Amiri believes that a more sensible approach would have been to ‘proactively, effectively and completely’ isolate only the over 60s or 65s and other vulnerable groups.

‘This way,’ he claimed, ‘the economy will suffer a lot less with restaurants, bars, gyms and similar organisations being allowed to carry on functioning, albeit at seventy or eighty percent of their normal capacity.’

Writing in The Times on Saturday, the columnist Matthew Parris made a similar point:

‘Given what we already know, or surmise, might it be worth considering a more ruthlessly but more narrowly targeted drive to confine the most apparently at-risk (like me, I fear) for our own protection, rather than (as it seems) wreck the economy by confining almost everybody else?’

Mr Amiri was speaking to The Parliamentary Review on Friday afternoon, moments before the chancellor Rishi Sunak addressed the nation and announced, among other things, the new jobs retention scheme, whereby the government would cover up to 80% of the wages for employees who would otherwise have been laid of.

Perhaps pre-empting the chancellor, Mr Amiri called on the government to provide urgent support for SMEs across the country. 

Picture courtesy of John Cameron,

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Authored by

William Winter
March 23 2020

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