UK footfall figures showed a year-on-year drop of around 60 per cent due to lockdown

Covid lockdown has left TWO MILLION people without work through furlough or job cuts – as one in four UK firms plan to fire staff at end of April if government support scheme is axed

  • Resolution Foundation says 1.9million are unable to work after losing their jobs
  • It says 20% of these fear they will remain jobless when the furlough scheme ends
  • Think tank estimates Covid will leave high debt level and mental health problems

By STEPHEN DOUGHTY, SOCIAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL and JAMES ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 22:30, 17 February 2021 | UPDATED: 14:03, 18 February 2021

Nearly two million people have been unable to work for at least six months after losing their jobs in the pandemic or being placed on furlough, a think-tank report has said.

The Resolution Foundation puts the figure at 1.9million – compared to official statistics showing 1.2million.

It says one in five of these people fear they will remain jobless or their roles will vanish when the taxpayer-funded furlough scheme stops on April 30.Read More

Meanwhile, in a further blow to the jobs market, a quarter of British businesses have today said they expect to fire staff if Chancellor Rishi Sunak does not extend its furlough programme – which is due to expire at the end of April. 

The Resolution Foundation report suggests a ‘long Covid’ in the labour market will add to the after-effects of the pandemic, which are expected to include high debt levels and mental health problems. 

The report was published as:

  • Bosses begin drafting ‘no jab, no job’ contracts to force staff to get vaccine despite lawyers warning they will likely be challenged in court;
  • Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins said ‘no jab, no job’ contacts for new staff will be rolled out ‘in two to three months’;
  • Boris Johnson says Britons won’t need to show a Covid vaccine passport to go to the pub – but admits you might need one to go on holiday;
  • Anti-lockdown Tories piled further pressure on the Prime Minister after he vowed to use ‘data not dates’ to end restrictions;
  • Parents will be told to test their teenage children for Covid twice a week when schools reopen after unions refused to let teachers do it;
  • UK footfall figures showed a year-on-year drop of around 60 per cent due to lockdown – with London footfall down nearly 90 per cent

A report by the think tank Resolution Foundation estimates that around 1.9 million people have been unable to work for at least six months after losing a job or being furloughed in pandemic (pictured: Commuters on a tube in London this morning)+14

A report by the think tank Resolution Foundation estimates that around 1.9 million people have been unable to work for at least six months after losing a job or being furloughed in pandemic (pictured: Commuters on a tube in London this morning)A graph showing the number of people in the UK who have been unemployed or furloughed for more than six months+14

A graph showing the number of people in the UK who have been unemployed or furloughed for more than six monthsA graph showing how many people have had some experience of unemployment of furloughing over the past year+14

A graph showing how many people have had some experience of unemployment of furloughing over the past yearA graph showing the number of people in the UK either partially or fully furloughed since the pandemic began+14

A graph showing the number of people in the UK either partially or fully furloughed since the pandemic began A graph showing the change in paid employee jobs in 2020 compared to February 2020  - before the first lockdown began+14

A graph showing the change in paid employee jobs in 2020 compared to February 2020  – before the first lockdown began

Speaking about the report, Nye Cominetti, an economist at the think-tank, said: ‘While the UK’s economic prospects are finally looking up, job insecurity remains high, particularly among those who have spent long periods not working or who are currently furloughed. 

The Chancellor must use his Budget to set out his own roadmap for phasing out the furlough scheme gradually and in a way that acknowledges where the risks of rising unemployment are highest – in sectors like hospitality.

One in four UK firms plan to fire staff if furlough ends soon, say business chiefs 

A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found one in four companies will have to lay off staff unless furlough support is extended beyond April 30.

Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his annual budget on March 3 and has promised to provide more support for jobs hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

But he is also mindful that COVID-related spending has already pushed Britain’s budget deficit to its highest since World War Two. 

The furlough programme cost £46billion up to mid-December – the government’s most expensive single economic support measure.

The BCC survery also showed sales had tumbled at 61 per cent of firms in the past three months and 23 per cent risk running out of cash. 

‘It is vital that the UK government keeps financial support going until firms can reopen and rebuild,’ BCC Director General Adam Marshall said.

He added: ‘Pulling the plug now would be a huge mistake, and would be akin to writing off the billions already spent helping firms to survive.’

‘This would keep a lid on rising unemployment and encourage firms to bring back existing workers while tax breaks on hiring could help more people to move jobs too.’ 

Meanwhile, a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found one in four companies will have to lay off staff unless furlough support is extended beyond April 30.

Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his annual budget on March 3 and has promised to provide more support for jobs hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

But he is also mindful that COVID-related spending has already pushed Britain’s budget deficit to its highest since World War Two. 

The furlough programme cost £46billion up to mid-December – the government’s most expensive single economic support measure.

The BCC survey also showed sales had tumbled at 61 per cent of firms in the past three months and 23 per cent risk running out of cash. 

‘It is vital that the UK government keeps financial support going until firms can reopen and rebuild,’ BCC Director General Adam Marshall said.

He added: ‘Pulling the plug now would be a huge mistake, and would be akin to writing off the billions already spent helping firms to survive.’

A major leap in worklessness after the pandemic would end almost a decade of record high employment levels and introduce economic pressures and pains that have not been seen since the banking collapse of the late 2000s.

The Resolution Foundation report said that last month 700,000 workers had been unemployed for at least six months and a further 500,000 had been on full furlough, working no hours at all, for the same period. 

But it said that because people have been moving between unemployment and furlough, the real number who had not worked since the summer of 2020 was 1.9 million.+14

+14

A poll taken by YouGov among nearly 6,400 people late in January found that eight per cent of those in work were worried about unemployment over the next three months or had been told they would be redundant when lockdown lifts.

But among furloughed workers 21 per cent expect to lose their jobs. 

Scientists urge ministers to agree on an ‘acceptable’ number of Covid-19 infections that the country could live with as a tolerable risk 

Scientists have pleaded with ministers to give them an ‘acceptable’ number of Covid infections that Britain is prepared to live with, said one government expert yesterday.

Professor Dame Angela McLean said that a ‘sensible discussion’ was needed about a tolerable level of risk from Covid.

‘One of the things we have cried out for again and again, is could somebody in a position of political power tell us what is an acceptable number of infections,’ she said.

‘We do need to decide what level we feel is acceptable, and then we can manage our lives with that in mind.’

Dame Angela, chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), was giving evidence to the Commons science and technology committee.

Many of those worried about the collateral effects of lockdowns have already suggested that Britain must learn to live with the virus like it does with other illnesses.

Another expert told the committee that the public will want their normal lives back once everyone has been vaccinated.

Professor Sir John Bell, who advises the UK’s vaccine taskforce, said: ‘It’s not plausible to imagine a world where we vaccinate the whole country and everybody believes they’re still in the place that we were in six months ago.’

The expert, who is regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, asked MPs to think about a situation where very few people died, no one was admitted to hospital and there was no long-Covid, which vaccines might have an impact upon.

‘People will feel – with some justification in my view – that they would like to get back to a relatively normal way of life, and we are going to have to get used to that,’ he said.

Many such as retail workers have been unable to work since the third national lockdown in England was introduced in January.

Big brands such as Debenhams have already been lost on the High Street.

In one of the biggest blows to retail jobs since the pandemic began, it was announced thousands of jobs were to be lost when Debenhams collapse.

It was bought by Boohoo for £55million. However the firm said it would axe 12,000 jobs by making it an online-only operation. 

High street chains such as Peacocks, Jaeger, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Bonmarché have all gone into administration since the start of the pandemic.

Online giant ASOS recently acquired from the shell of Arcadia the brands and websites of Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and the athleisure HIIT brands but the future of their stores remains unknown.

New data has revealed around 850 retail jobs have been lost each working day since the start of the year as retail experts warn this will be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ without further support from the Treasury.

New analysis from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) shows 27,096 jobs have been shed and 1,023 stores have been earmarked for closure so far in 2021.

The research, which covers insolvencies by retailers with 10 or more stores.

On top of this, worrying figures show the affect of lockdown on towns and cities across the UK.

Latest figures from data group Springboard show year-on-year footfall figures for last February was down 61 per cent in England and Wales, 63 per cent down in Northern Ireland and 66 per cent down in Scotland.

The figures are similar in each are of England, with the south-east and south-west the only regions to see smaller drops – of around 55 per cent.

However central London saw the biggest drop, with footfall dropping 86.9 per cent compared to this time last year. 

Though each country has different lockdown rules, the fall in footfall undoubtedly comes from non-essential shops are currently closed in all parts of the UK.

It comes as office staff are set to be told to keep working from home even as other lockdown restrictions are eased.

Boris Johnson is not expected to give a firm date for when workers will return to their desks as he unveils his plans for a return to normality on Monday.

It means the ‘work from home if you can’ message will continue to guide employers for the foreseeable future.

But ahead of any return, companies are reportedly drafting ‘no jab, no job’ contracts to force staff to get Covid-19 vaccinations.

Bosses in the care home sector as well as large international groups including an energy firm are making arrangements, top lawyers warned.

It comes as it emerged all adults could be offered two jabs by August because supplies are surging. 

Published by technofiend1

Kazan- Kazan National Research Technical University Казанский национальный исследовательский технический университет имени А. Н. Туполева he graduated in Economics in 1982

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