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UK unemployment jumps to 4.5%

October 13, 2020

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the BBC reveals that UK employers planned almost 500,000 redundancies through restructuring programmes from April to August inclusive.

Since lockdown began in March, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, with many more expected by the end of the year, as the COVID-19 pandemic spirals out of control.

Official unemployment just hit 4.5% percent. The Bank of England expects a rise to 7.5 percent following the end of the furlough scheme. Other estimates warn that unemployment may treble to 15 percent.

When the furlough scheme—which subsidised 80 percent of the wages of workers furloughed during lockdown—ends October 31, unemployment is set to rise rapidly by between 1.8 million and six million—as employers lay off previously furloughed workers permanently. The new scheme will pay workers in pubs, restaurants, and other businesses just two thirds of their wages if they are instructed to close. Many workers in hospitality already exist on notoriously low wages, meaning the government’s scheme affords an unliveable pittance.

Theatres and the events industry are exempt from Sunak’s latest scheme.

According to a survey by planning platform Feast It, the events industry is braced for 400,000 job losses by the end of the year. Sixty-one percent of the 503 companies surveyed believed that by March 2021 they would be out of business. The industry is worth £70 billion.

Youth are particularly hard hit by the shrinking jobs market. According to the Resolution Foundation think tank, employment among 18-29-year-olds is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels for four years or more. This is particularly worrying for students, most of whom have to work during their courses to pay for extortionate accommodation fees and living expenses.

SOURCE: World Socialist Web Site, written by Margot Miller

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