A MONTH-long delay to fully coming out of lockdown will cost the economy £1billion a week, Boris Johnson has been warned.
The PM was told a setback triggered by the Delta variant could also lead to a jobs bloodbath — with 300,000 at risk in the hospitality sector.
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He said the spread was of “serious, serious concern” ahead of meeting key Cabinet colleagues this evening. And he claimed caution was needed for any decisions to be “irreversible”.
In the clearest hint yet of a delay to a June 21 reopening, Mr Johnson, said he may need to give vaccines “extra legs” in the race against lockdowns. Julian Jessop, of the Institute for Economic Affairs, said: “Even a delay of just a few weeks could be the final straw for many businesses, especially pubs, that have only just survived.
“They may not come back at all.” Sales in the hospitality sector remain down a huge 42 per cent.
Tory MP Mark Harper yesterday warned any delay now could lead to a never-ending lockdown.
He said: “Now the most vulnerable have been protected with their vaccine doses, we have to learn to live with this virus rather than endure seasonal on-off lockdowns and restrictions.”
But Prof Peter Openshaw, of government science advisory body Nervtag, said: “It really has gone up another gear and that means we really have to double down and not lose all the advantage that has been gained.”
The decision is expected to be taken by ministers today before the PM holds a No10 news conference tomorrow having attended the Nato summit in Brussels.