THE UK’s unemployment rate has risen to 4.8% in the three months to September, up from 4.5%, as the coronavirus continues to blitz workers’ jobs.
Redundancies rose to a record high of 314,000 in the same period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, when employers were anticipating the end of the Johnson government’s furlough scheme with mass sackings.
Furloughing was originally supposed to finish at the end of October, but was later extended to the end of March by Chancellor Rishi Sunak out of a fear that there would be millions of sackings and a workers revolt. In fact, the number of people out of work rose by 243,000 in the three-month period to September, the largest increase since May 2009.
The ONS figures also showed there was a very big rise in the number of 16 to 24-year-old jobless, with 14.6% out of work – far higher than the overall rate.
ONS deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow commented: ‘We’re seeing a continuation of a weakening of the labour market, fewer people on the payrolls and fewer people employed overall. That is now passing through to increasing unemployment altogether.’
He said the UK was starting to see people fall out of work in quite large numbers. However, there were still about 2.5 million people on furlough, with ‘quite a lot of uncertainty’ about what would happen to them.
Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: ‘The extension of the furlough scheme through to March is welcome . . . Unfortunately, the change appears to have come too late in the day for some.’
Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the extension to the furlough scheme would safeguard a significant number of jobs only in the short term.
‘However, with firms facing another wave of severely diminished cashflow and revenue, and with gaps in government support persisting, further substantial rises in unemployment remain likely in the coming months.’
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the latest figures underline ‘the scale of the challenge’ that the country faces. He added: ‘I know that this is a tough time for those who have sadly already lost their jobs, and I want to reassure anyone that is worried about the coming winter months that we will continue to support those affected and protect the lives and livelihoods of people across this country.’
Labour Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said people had lost their livelihoods because of the government’s ‘failure to face up to the scale of this jobs crisis in time. We’ve had enough last-minute changes and bluster from this government,’ he added.
‘The Chancellor needs to urgently provide support to those who have lost their jobs and get Britain back to work.’
In fact, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has just printed another £150 billion of worthless paper money to try to keep the economy from going bust.
Announcing the massive increase, the Bank’s governor Andrew Bailey projected a future where the UK’s massive national debt would be increased well above its current disastrous £2.2 trillion figure.
The plan of Chancellor Sunak and PM Johnson is to present the working class, the middle class and pensioners with the most savage austerity bill ever, to prevent the UK going bankrupt when when the furlough scheme ends on March 31.
The end of furloughing will see unemployment rocket by more than two million, while for young people there will be no prospect of any kind of job.
Instead, there will be a massive austerity programme that will see pensions slashed and the Triple Lock pension scheme abolished.
There will be massive tax rises and the BA system of mass sackings – firing then rehiring at cut pay rates – adopted as the bosses’ national policy. Youth will then be taken on only as even cheaper labour. This is what the Tories are planning to impose on the UK’s workers.
They aim to take advantage of the fact that the trade union leaders are on their knees and incapable of any kind of serious struggle.
Workers must get ready for this titanic battle ahead, by sacking the current trade union leaders and replacing them with revolutionary fighters prepared to defend the basic rights of the working class.
Workers and youth must join the WRP and the YS to build up the revolutionary leadership that will be ready, willing and able to lead the much needed British socialist revolution!