Speaking on BBC’s Question Time last night (14 May), Johnson, who is chairman of private equity firm Risk Capital Partners and currently backs operators including Gail’s Bakery and Lussmanns Sustainable Fish & Grill, said he believes more deaths will come from the collateral damage generated by the lockdown, than by the virus itself.
“We have to get things a bit into context,” he said.
“Every death is tragic, but we are entering the largest recession for 300 years. The Bank of England says the economy will shrink by 14%, that’s the equivalent of two recessions. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we see two million more unemployed people within a year.
“The collateral damage of this lockdown has to be taken into account. Very soon I believe lockdown will be causing more deaths than the virus.”
Johnson, who has consistently been a vocal sceptic of the lockdown, also said he didn’t have a great deal of confidence in the scientific advice being provided to the Government, describing the prediction that half a million people in the UK would have died if no lockdown had been implemented as “a ludicrous exaggeration”.
“I think there’s a grave risk that the pill will [be worse than the ill].
“There’s a real risk that millions of people in the private sector are going to see their careers demolished, and I think that really matters.
“People say this is putting economics over lives, but unemployment can kill people."