The official unemployment rate rose for the first time since the pandemic hit, rising slightly from 3.9 pc to a two-year high of 4.1 pc.
But economists expect the distorted figure to rise much higher as the scheme is withdrawn and job losses could rise this week as firms begin the consultation period needed to make surpluses. The enterprise scheme ends on October 31st and firms that lay off more than 100 employees must begin consultations at least 45 days before the layoffs.
Following the grim figures, ministers raised hopes that they would intervene to stem the rise in unemployment in the coming months.
I hope he will ensure that throughout this crisis I have not hesitated to act in creative and effective ways to support jobs and employment and will continue to do so, said Mr. Sunak in response to a question from the Chairman of the Committee of the Mel Stride Treasury.
Employment Minister Mims Davies also hinted at more support for jobs, acknowledging that there will be sectors that will take longer to return.
She added: I do not think this government is afraid to support where we can. We obviously have fiscal events where the Chancellor can start looking ahead.
The Chancellor’s job retention scheme has kept the job market in a state of suspended animation, paying 80 wages of protected workers up to 2,500 per month. Almost 10 million workers have relied on the scheme.
However, Covid’s full-blown crackdown on jobs will not be clear until the end of Chancellors’ salary support. July was the last month before firms were required to contribute to employee costs, with the scheme ending in October. The chancellor has announced a Jobsto Plan to strengthen the labor market, but opposition lawmakers and industry leaders have warned of the need for much more support.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer today called for new support aimed at replacing the terrain scheme for those sectors that need it most.
It makes no sense at all for the government to lift support now with one blow, he warned.
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