As the grip of Covid eases, the UK looks set for a classic short-lived boom | Larry Elliott

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Heavy borrowing by businesses could easily end in higher inflation and a ballooning trade deficit

Never have the opening lines of TS Eliot’s The Wasteland seemed more apt. In 2020, April really was the cruellest month, as the first wave of Covid-19 deaths peaked and businesses were shuttered. Between March and April, UK output slumped by a fifth.

This year, April will be different. The success of the vaccine programme means the government can go ahead with the next phase of the gradual unlocking of England’s economy. From Monday, it will be possible to go to the pub for a pint, provided you are prepared to brave the spring weather and drink outside.

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