Challenges ahead for policymakers

2022: Adjusting to changes brought on by the pandemic and gradually learning to live alongside Covid

2022: Adjusting to changes brought on by the pandemic and gradually learning to live alongside Covid

It’s too early to say that the worst of the pandemic is over, but it’s not premature to say that the world needs to gradually to learn to live with Covid. That may mean changes to the way we work and travel. It certainly means keeping a focus on key issues, such as population ageing and decarbonisation, that must be tackled regardless of Covid. This newsletter sets out some of the big challenges facing policymakers in 2022.

Building back better

High-capacity internet bandwidth was a saviour for people locked down at home by Covid, but we argue that further improvements in telecommunications connectivity will be needed to realise the economic potential of 5G. Crucially, that means crafting regulations in a way that catalyses large-scale private investment. As things stand, telecoms looks a more promising sector for investors than airports. Given that the slump in travel has made the airport industry much riskier, both operationally and financially, we suggest how airport business planning needs to be overhauled. As for energy, we reckon 2022 could turn out to be a repeat of 2021, with governments juggling the short-term task of combatting high prices with the longer-term imperative of charting a path to net zero.

Growing old, taking delivery

One trend common to Europe and impervious to Covid is that people are living longer. Taking the example of paying for social care in the UK, we look at how the high cost of ageing raises sensitive political considerations to do with fairness and the role of the state. Another important economic trend, more popular with the young than with the elderly, is a boom in the rapid delivery of food and groceries. We explain why the market is likely to keep expanding. Finally, a related article previews a big year ahead in competition law in 2022, including a looming surge in US-style class action suits.

Team Thoughts

Traditional forecasting models have been based on the remarkably durable relationship between economic growth, demand for air travel and airfares. Now the forecasting challenge has changed, so should the economic framework.
Dan Elliott
Expect more innovation, more investment, more expansion, and more consolidation. Providers will broaden their range and move into more towns and cities. Rapid delivery is here to stay in some form.
Sarah Pennington
While legislators will have got a new toolkit to play with, the real challenge of successful implementation – with accountability for the outcomes – will then begin. So our message to regulators for 2022 is: with great power comes great accountability.
David Parker

In numbers


adults have shopped online for their groceries


increase in electricity price from 2020 to 2022

Team Thoughts

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