Commenting on today’s (Tuesday) employment figures, which show unemployment rising to 5% in the three months to November 2020, the TUC warns the Chancellor that he must urgently extend the job retention scheme to save jobs.
The two largest rises in unemployment in 2020 occurred in months when support was reduced or expected to end.
In July 2020, when the initial job retention scheme ended and a modified scheme reduced levels of support, unemployment rose by 17%.
And in October 2020, when the job retention scheme was due to fully end on October 31, and an extension into 2021 not announced until November 5, unemployment rose by 8%.
The TUC says that the government must recognise the damage done by withdrawing support too soon, or by failing to guarantee continuation of support until the eleventh hour.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“The more people we keep in work, the faster we can recover. But with the job retention scheme set to end in April, millions of people’s jobs hang in the balance.
“When the government planned to withdraw support last autumn, despite restrictions still being in place, unemployment surged. We can’t let that happen again.
“It’s time to end the uncertainty and anxiety. The Chancellor must urgently extend furlough support to the end of the year to keep jobs safe.”
- The monthly employment changes are based on ONS Labour Force Survey single-month estimates; these are not designated as National Statistics but offer a reasonable guide to unemployment outcomes through the pandemic.
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