Two million people in the UK haven’t worked for six months due to pandemic
A report has discovered the economic cost of the pandemic has caused nearly two million people in the UK to have been out of work for at least six months.
The report by the Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank focused on raising living standards for low-income people, found nearly two million Brits have either been on full-time furlough, found themselves unemployed, or bounced between the two for at least the last six months.
The breakdown of the headline number finds that the vast majority of the people involved – 1.3 million – have been on full-time furlough, meaning they have been unable to work in any capacity while receiving financial support from the Government scheme.
In even starker news, nearly 700,000 Brits have been officially unemployed for at least the last six months due to the fallout from the pandemic – these are the exact kinds of people whose jobs it was hoped the furlough scheme would protect.
Among those surveyed for the report, many currently in jobs still worry for their security, with 8% having already been informed they would be made redundant in the next three months, or expecting the news.
The UK Government this week announced its roadmap out of lockdown for England, in the hope that all areas of the economy can be opened up, and all social restrictions lifted, by June 21st.
While it’s been a boost to businesses to have a set of dates to work around, the country remains in lockdown for the time being, and the UK Government has warned that none of the dates are set in stone and will rely on continued progress with the virus and UK vaccination programme.
With this in mind, the furlough scheme – which covers part of the wages of people placed on leave due to the pandemic – has been extended by Chancellor Rishi Sunak until at least April.
The Resolution Foundation believes this doesn’t go far enough, however, and has called on the Government to continue to offer the support of the scheme for several months after restrictions are lifted, as well as to more tightly tailor the scheme to specific sections of the economy who need it most, like retail and hospitality.
The Resolution Foundation echoed the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warning last week that there will be “deferred” company failures even after restrictions are lifted, with thousands at risk of losing their jobs if the support of the furlough scheme comes to an abrupt stop.
You can read the Resolution Foundation’s full report here.
If you’ve been made redundant during the pandemic, or money has been tight since you were placed on furlough, you can talk to a Creditfix money adviser for free today on 0808 253 0807.
At Creditfix, we help people deal with debt, and our expert team has helped thousands of people get their finances back on track during a difficult time.