The chancellor did the right things in March but has done precious little since. From this week, his safety net unravels
For a hint of what the near future of this country holds, talk to Emily Pringle. At the end of June, she advertised a job with her home-fragrance firm, Notes of Northumberland. Based in pretty Alnwick, with lovely colleagues – 16 hours a week, working mainly in the shop. Pringle might ordinarily expect 40-odd CVs. This time, she was deluged: within a fortnight, almost 600 people applied.Many lived more than 30 miles away, in Newcastle. Most were vastly overqualified, and a good number had PhDs. All were now fighting for part-time work in retail. “It made me sad,” Pringle tells me. “That’s not why they spent so long studying. But it says a lot about the state of the jobs market.”Look around and these stories are unfolding all over Covid UK. A Manchester restaurant wants a receptionist: over the next 24 hours, almost 1,000 people write in. A south London pub seeks two bar staff: 500 candidates step forward.
Shocking numbers, for now. But by Christmas such vignettes will be piled higher than the snow because, if the official projections are correct, the UK faces a jobs crisis the likes of which it hasn’t confronted for two generations. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that this winter unemployment will rocket to levels last seen in the early 1980s under Margaret Thatcher, with nearly one in eight workers unemployed. Thought you’d been hurt badly by the banking crash of 2008? Just wait.
Read more: theguardian.com