One thing is for sure – this crisis will change the way people think about things forever. It provides an opportunity to recalibrate things and understand value as opposed to price. We will have become acclimatised to focused shopping for food and essentials; avoiding waste; and spending time connecting with those around us in a more meaningful fashion than perhaps we have for a while?
The endless examples of selflessness in helping those less fortunate cannot help but to move you and the sacrifices many make in their day to day jobs (across all public services) is visible like it has never been before. It would be nice to think that public service, empathy and community spirit become even more embedded values in the post COVID-19 world.
Discussions have already started about how will all this be paid for and there is no doubt there will be a financial reckoning but long term thinking is needed. We still have some nutty issues to crack - how are we to care for our ageing population? And we have some new welcome dilemmas - how do we harness this surge in volunteering for the greater good? Maybe this gives us an opportunity to seriously re-evaluate a situation where a carer does what they do for the minimum wage while the average professional footballer took home over £3m last year.
Let’s be honest now, we will all have to pay for the economic consequences of COVID-19 but perhaps more of us will be prepared to accept that after this crisis rather than looking for cuts to many of the services that stepped up to the plate we can invest more in communities and social care in particular? As the column says, money matters - but only in so far as it supports life and wellbeing.
Gary Fielding is corporate director of strategic resources at North Yorkshire CC and president of the Society of County Treasurers