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Evening Standard comment: Meghan shines a light on miscarriage | No-deal risks recovery | Clarity on tier criteria

Evening Standard Comment
·3-min read
 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

Meghan shines a light on miscarriage

“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.” The Duchess of Sussex will have known as she penned this line for The New York Times this was what would resonate globally.

A simple but devastating moment of grief. The world and his wife will pick apart every line of her opinion piece, which ranges across grief, misinformation, miscarriages of justice and the polarisation of society.

But at base this is another welcome spotlight on a horribly common occurrence for women, that is often shrouded in secrecy (and in many countries shame), which as Meghan writes, “perpetuates a cycle of solitary mourning”.

Miscarriage is deeply painful and shocking when it happens. Many may want to grieve privately but silence can also mean women don’t access help, either counselling or proper treatment.

Miscarriages can often be complicated and drawn out and the hormone withdrawal afterwards further deepens emotional distress.

The more we all understand the process, the better the pain it causes can be healed.

No-deal risks recovery

The UK is not big on term limits. The Queen has enjoyed 68 years on the throne while prime ministers can serve for however long they retain the confidence of the House.

Yet there is a notable exception. The Chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility — the body that provides independent and not always helpful forecasts — is limited to two terms. Such is the power of economic analysis.

It is no surprise that the state of Britain’s public finances is bleak. The Government shut the economy down in March and has since spent hundreds of billions of pounds on track and trace, furlough and loans to struggling businesses.

Tax rises will inevitably follow. But the greatest threat to our long-term prosperity is not short-term borrowing — it is long-term economic scarring.

The Spending Review should spell out plans to help the economy grow. This must include a climate to support business, jobs and investment in infrastructure.

As London recovered from the Great Recession, we began construction on Crossrail and delivered the Olympics. Where are the big infrastructure projects today to kick start our economy?

Yet in many ways the fate of the British economy is being decided not in the House of Commons today, but between UK and EU officials.

This week, the Governor of the Bank of England declared that a no-deal Brexit would be worse for the economy than Covid-19. And we are a month away from it happening.

A Government that should be doing everything in its power to ensure a v-shaped recovery is instead risking it all over fishing.

This Spending Review will be quickly forgotten if the Government destroys the economy through a no-deal Brexit.

Clarity on tier criteria

MPs will soon be asked to vote on the new tiered system for England. As we have repeatedly argued, they must be shown clear criteria for which areas get put into which tiers.

Matt Hancock has argued it is unreasonable to set fixed thresholds to decide which areas fall into new tiers. Who is asking for fixed?

What we are askingfor is clarity each time on how they take these decisions. Be reasonable, Matt.