Millionaire Boris Johnson backer criticises politicians for ‘unwillingness’ to allow a recession

Crispin Odey appears in the Tories At War documentary. Photograph: Channel 4

Crispin Odey appears in the Tories At War documentary. Photograph: Channel 4 - Credit: Archant

Millionaire hedge fund manager Crispin Odey has criticised politicians for an 'unwillingness' to allow a recession, claiming the government had spent too much on the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Odey said the combined costs - estimated at around £350 billion - was too high for a spend on preventative action, suggesting that a figure of £12.5 billion was more appropriate, even if the death toll rocketed to 500,000 people.

In an interview with Portfolio Adviser, he used a calculation from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence standards, which suggest the cost of medicine should not be more than the average income of a country.

The former son-in-law of Rupert Murdoch. who donated £10,000 to Boris Johnson's leadership campaign and £900,000 to pro-Brexit campaigns, also criticised furlough.

He explained that he feared a rise in inflation, which could in turn knock the stock markets.

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'Inflation comes when too much money is chasing too few goods. If, thanks to furlough, incomes are holding up better than output, watch out.'

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And he hit out at policy-makers for being shy about a recession, saying that their own actions were causing social unrest, and suggesting a reset of the economy was needed.

'The gap between the rich and the poor has reached an inflection point. The feeling that state schools are victimised by the marking procedure for the academic results, the feeling that coloured people are victimised, and I could go on closer to home.

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'All of this historians will ascribe to the unwillingness of the authorities to allow a recession which would have allowed a rejuggling of the pack, for those that were young or poor to change places with those that were rich and old etc. etc.'

Despite his comments, last month the UK fell into recession for the first time in 11 years after the economy shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

Odey will appear in court this month after being charged with indecently assaulting a woman more than 20 years ago, an allegation he denies and said he is strongly contesting.

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