Over 600,000 workers lose jobs between March & May

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Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics released today revealed the dire state of Britain’s economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and Tory mismanagement.

According to to the ONS, the UK’s national statistical institute, early indicators for May 2020 show that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls has fallen sharply by well over 600,000 since March.

The Universal Credit claimant count has continued to rise, increasing by 125.9% since March to over 2.8 million. Temporary changes to Universal Credit as part of the Johnson’s government’s response to the pandemic has meant an increase in the number of people eligible.

Meanwhile, the number of vacancies in May has fallen to a record low with a decrease of 60% since March.

A quarter of workers in Britain, 8.9 million in total, are now furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme,

Employee average pay growth also slowed notably in April 2020, and the three months to April saw total pay fall in real terms for the first time since January 2018. Pay declined in industries where furloughing was most prominent, many of these being the lowest-paying industries, in particular accommodation and food service activities.

The slowdown in the economy is now visibly hitting the labour market, especially in terms of hours worked,” said Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics.

Young Communist League General Secretary, Johnnie Hunter, said, “These statistics simply confirm what millions of working people across Britain already know, the fact that this Tory government’s economic policy in the face of the pandemic has completely failed.

“The Tories have been criminally negligent both in terms of protecting lives and safeguarding jobs and living standards. Working people are being made to pay for a crisis which is the result of ruling class incompetence in managing public health and the economy.

He stated, “Johnson and his Cabinet have tried to present their approach in combating the pandemic as balanced and pragmatic. Over 65,000 have now died in Britain. We have the 5th highest global death toll despite our population size and advanced healthcare system. Not only this, we now face a spiralling economic collapse. We can expect the Tories rush to ‘get back to normal’ to result in more deaths if it goes unchallenged.

The YCL General Secretary concluded, “the left and trade unions must build a mass movement to resist the Tory drive to undermine public health as the pandemic is overcome and to fight to protect jobs and communities in the economic crisis which is already unfolding. ‘Normal’ wasn’t working for working people. We can’t afford to let Johnson and his clique to enforce another decade of austerity.

Challenge News Desk

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