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JRF response to UK Labour Market statistics

Rebecca McDonald, Senior Economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, responded to UK Labour Market statistics

“Preventing falling levels of employment turning into a surge in poverty must be a national priority. These figures show at least 730,000 fewer people in work since March. This loss in income means many are likely facing constant, grinding pressure and uncertainty about how to pay their rent, put food on the table or find a new job which provides a path to a good livelihood.

“The latest figures cover a period when the full furlough scheme was still in place and millions were protected from the full force of the economic storm. As furlough is wound down, the Government must live up to its commitment to do whatever it takes to support employers create new good jobs and equip jobseekers with the skills they need to access these opportunities. In the meantime, we must ensure Universal Credit provides enough timely support so people aren’t pulled into poverty.”

JRF is calling for the Government to:

  • Invest in Universal Credit to make it a more effective lifeline for families with children who are having to cut back on essentials, turn to foodbanks or take out unaffordable debt.
  • Bring forward investments in targeted support, skills, and retraining schemes, to benefit the groups of workers in sectors most at risk of job losses. This should particularly focus on:
    • Adults over 25 with fewer formal qualifications
    • Women
    • BAME communities
  • Go further on its job creation programmes so that they better reflect the scale of risk facing many groups of workers.

Labour market overview, UK: August 2020

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