Worried ministers call for staged end to lockdown with schools to return by May 11 and ‘non-essential’ shops to open after government watchdog’s apocalyptic warning UK economy faces biggest slump for 300 years [LINK]

Ministers are under huge pressure to come up with an ‘exit strategy’ from coronavirus lockdown today after the scale of the looming economic meltdown became clear.

Cabinet infighting is in full swing over how and when to ease the draconian curbs strangling UK plc, with demands for primary schools and non-essential shops to reopen early next month.

The row escalated after the government’s own watchdog issued apocalyptic estimates for what three months in lockdown would mean – suggesting GDP will crash 35 per cent this quarter and two million people lose their jobs. It said ‘for now’ it was assuming there would be a fairly rapid bounce back – but the recession would still be the worst for 300 years.