The Government acted with speed and at unprecedented scale to protect businesses, jobs and incomes during the crisis, and to minimise the long-term economic damage.
Nonetheless, the pandemic is clearly having a seismic impact on the labour market. The lockdown introduced in late March was necessary to slow the spread of the virus, but it has had a significant impact on the economy, leading to a sharp increase in unemployment. There were 2.5 million applications for Universal Credit during March and April alone, and more than 8 million workers have been furloughed.
As the spread of the virus has slowed, attention has now turned to how we can get the economy going again. This will not be like flicking a switch, and some restrictions and social distancing are likely to need to remain in place for many months at least. This raises questions about how best to start to get Britain back to work: investing to create jobs, withdrawing emergency economic support gradually, and helping those out-of-work to find new jobs.
The report calls on the Government urgently to introduce an ambitious ‘Plan for Jobs’, including;