Boris Johnson’s refusal to order a national two week circuit breaker will cost the economy £110billion.
And that is the equivalent of double the country’s spending on schools.
Labour analysis shows that if the virus continues to spread at levels seen earlier this year the PM’s failure to act will see Britain’s wealth drop an extra six per cent.
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds told the Sunday Mirror: “Cabinet ministers are blocking a circuit breaker because they don’t understand – or care – about the multi-billion-pound cost of doing nothing.
“This stubbornness doesn’t just put public health at risk. It means more job losses, shuttered businesses and livelihoods in ruin.”
The economic damage caused by Covid is not limited to the impact of lockdowns and localised restrictions.
When the virus spreads people change their behaviour to avoid it and shops, pubs, restaurants and transport take the hit.
And if action is not taken to bring the R number down quickly the economy will suffer from what is known as “prolonged voluntary social distancing”.
The International Monetary Fund says this caused 60 per cent of the damage to the world’s advanced economies in the first 90 days of the pandemic.
Yet Chancellor Rishi Sunak led ministers in blocking the two week circuit breaker SAGE scientists were recommending and which Labour backs.
Ms Dodds says the Government should use this period to sort out test, trace and isolate to protect public health and the long term future of the economy.
She added: “This Government has already been too slow into lockdown once. The British people can’t afford it to be too slow again.”