Central government, the Mayor of London and local government must work together to support Londoners to adapt to a post-Coronavirus economy, as new research shows low paid workers in the capital have been hit hardest by the jobs crisis.
The coronavirus crisis has hit London’s labour market hard. The claimant count in London has risen by 161% since March – faster than any other region or nation of the UK – to the highest levels since records began in 1986. The rise has been even sharper among young people, with the youth claimant count nearly trebling (183% increase) since March.
Low paid Londoners are bearing the brunt of the crisis. They are nearly twice as likely to have been furloughed and nearly four times as likely to have lost their jobs compared to other Londoners. Low paid Londoners are nearly four times as likely to be struggling to afford both their bills and basics such as food. Low paid workers in the capital are more worried about the future; they are more concerned both about losing their job, and being able to find work.
At the end of August, there were still 557,000 jobs furloughed in London, the highest proportion of any region of the UK. The end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at the end of October, just as social distancing requirements were tightened, had risks a cliff-edge in support, and a catastrophic second wave of job losses. Had the government not changed course, nearly 270,000 Londoners would have been at risk of losing their jobs over the winter.
The report calls for central government, the Mayor of London, and local government to work together to focus on supporting low paid Londoners to adapt to the post-coronavirus economy. It sets out a four-point plan: