I’ve urged the government to focus on protecting and creating jobs after it emerged that the number of jobcentre claimants in Sheffield has doubled in just two months.
As of 14 May, 22,990 people across the city were out of work and claiming work-related benefits. On 12 March, just before lockdown began, the figure stood at 11,865.
Across South Yorkshire as a whole, the number of claimants increased from 31,045 to 59,930 during the same period.
The latest data from HMRC reveals that the number of people on UK payrolls has fallen by 2.1% or 612,000 between May and March. The figures follow statistics earlier this month showing job vacancies at a three-year low, raising fears of mass unemployment.
Ministers are failing to protect the economy, just as they have failed to protect public health.
On the lockdown, on testing and on PPE, the government’s response to coronavirus has been too little, too late. Ministers must not make the same mistake when it comes the economy and should act quickly to protect jobs. Other countries, including Germany, have already announced stimulus packages to support their post-Covid economic recovery.
The OECD has already warned that Britain’s economy is likely to suffer the worst damage from the pandemic of any country in the developed world. Without government intervention, we’re looking at mass unemployment.
The government must act now to prevent further job losses and create work for those who are already unemployed. That’s why Labour is calling for an emergency summer Budget and stimulus package that has one focus – jobs, jobs, jobs.