Britain's economy finds out what it means to live with covid

After 19 months spent attempting to ward off covid-19 while safeguarding jobs and businesses, the U.K. is heading into winter with a growing problem: The coronavirus is spreading rapidly, just as the economy starts going in the opposite direction.

Combined with a growing global supply chain crisis, a shortage of truck drivers -- exacerbated by Brexit -- and an energy-price crunch, households are coming under sustained pressure. Foto: Tolga Akmen/AFP / AFP

U.K. cases are accelerating faster than in other western European nations, while deaths have jumped to their highest since March. Government ministers are having to deny they are planning for a new lockdown. At the same time, economic growth is slowing, inflation is running high, the Bank of England is expected to hike rates soon and households are facing a cost-of-living crisis.

It's a contrast to successive waves of infection earlier in the pandemic, when tighter covid curbs hurt the economy and looser measures helped it rebound. But most restrictions were removed in July, and key fiscal and monetary support programs -- including the furlough scheme and a boost to Universal Credit -- have now also been wound down. That leaves the U.K. heading into winter relying almost entirely on its vaccination program to ward off the virus and protect the economy...

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