UK facing highest levels of youth unemployment in four decades, warns think tank

‘True nature’ of Britain’s jobs crisis 'starting to reveal itself’, says report

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Wednesday 28 October 2020 02:05 GMT
Rishi Sunak speaks of ‘difficult trade-offs’ due to Covid crisis

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The UK is already facing the highest levels of youth unemployment in four decades, a think tank has warned.

A report by the Resolution Foundation found that one in five young people – and more than one in five black, Asian and minority ethnic workers – furloughed during lockdown has since lost their jobs.  

Just one in three of the young people affected have found new work since.  

Ministers are braced for a rash of redundancies this winter as the furlough scheme, which has been credited with saving the jobs of millions of workers during the coronavirus crisis, ends.  

A new replacement system, unveiled by the chancellor last month, is much less generous and critics warn it will lead to mass job losses.  

The Resolution Foundation report surveyed 6,061 adults across the UK and warns the “true nature” of Britain’s jobs crisis is only now starting to reveal itself

The report found that only half of those who were furloughed have returned to work full time.  

Around one in three are still fully or partially furloughed, while almost one in 10 (9 per cent) have lost their jobs.  

Those figures were much higher among 18- to 24-year-olds, at 19 per cent, and Bame workers, at 22 per cent.  

The foundation said the scale of unemployment its survey identified implied that unemployment was running at around 7 per cent in September – well above the latest official figures which put it at 4.5 per cent in the three months to August.  The figure could be even higher among 18- to 24-year-olds at around 20 per cent, the highest level in four decades, the foundation warned.

The survey also found one in five workers (21 per cent) in the most deprived parts of the country were either not working, furloughed, or had lost hours and pay in September because of coronavirus.  

The average across the UK as a whole was 17 per cent.  Kathleen Henehan, from the Resolution Foundation, said: “The first eight months of the Covid crisis have been marked by an almighty economic shock and unprecedented support that has cushioned the impact in terms of people’s livelihoods. “But the true nature of Britain’s jobs crisis is starting to reveal itself. Around one in five young people, and over one in five Bame workers, have fallen straight from furloughing into unemployment.
“Worryingly, fewer than half of those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have been able to find work since. This suggests that even if the public health crisis recedes in a few months’ time, Britain’s jobs crisis will be with us for far longer.”

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