Big FourCoronavirus

Risk of economic disaster may transcend human one, says KPMG chairman

The chairman of ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm KPMG has warned that the potential risk of “economic disaster” may soon “transcend the human one.”

According to The Financial Times, Bill Michael made the remark in an email to staff –  his first after leaving hospital after contracting the Covid-19 virus.

He said: “The difficult judgments governments face is to strike a balance between the health of our people and our economy. This will necessarily be a time of trial and error on an unprecedented scale.”

However, Michael added that the firm was “well placed to help” despite saying “it appears a vaccine is many months away — too long for an economy to survive a lockdown”

The accountancy firm is also overseeing the management of the NHS Nightingale hospitals for the British government, as well as advising the Department for Work and Pensions on its response to the Covid-19 crisis.

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Michael said: “The crisis . . . will be the catalyst of profound change that will force us to think in completely different ways, including the adoption of new technology.

“The country faces huge operational challenges to implement the significant decisions of government in the many months and years ahead. Some of these will be enduring and change how the government and the economy operates forever.”

He also predicts that there will be an “enormous change” to Britain’s fiscal policy and “far-reaching consequences” for the tax system following ministers roll out of the £330bn support package issued to businesses.

Earlier this month, KPMG announced its partners would be facing pay cuts up to 25% due to the coronavirus pandemic, as the firm seeks to “conserve cash.”

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