Cutting Covid isolation to five days would save economy £300m

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But surveys over recent months have indicated some people did not plan to comply with the requirement to self-isolate.

Train services have been particularly impacted by shortages, with hundreds of daily services cut or reduced to prevent last-minute cancellations. Southern Rail has cancelled trains to and from London Victoria until January 10th owing to a lack of staff.

Omicron has already taken a toll on British executives’ confidence, which dropped sharply this month according to the Institute for Directors. There was a “sharp deterioration” in the business group’s economic confidence index from -6 in November to -17 in December, the lowest since last January.

Around three quarters of directors surveyed said they expected costs to rise in the coming year, with a similar number saying they would increase prices as an offset in a sign that inflation is likely to remain high well into the new year.

Kitty Ussher, the institute’s chief economist, said: “We now have significantly more business leaders feeling pessimistic about the UK economy in the next 12 months than feeling optimistic.

“This matters because firms are less likely to undertake investment if the climate feels uncertain, and we need that investment for the economy to grow.

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