21:51 GMT17 April 2021
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    The United Kingdom is facing an unprecedented spike in unemployment amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the government's lockdown measures, introduced in response to it.

    Nearly one in every ten people living in London is predicted to be unemployed by December 2021, a report concluded on Friday.

    A total of 464,000 economically active residents - or 9.4% of the city - will lose their job by the end of this year, the forecasting commissioned by London Councils predicts.

    “The economic fallout from Covid-19 threatens a painful legacy of unemployment in the capital," London Councils’ Executive Member for Skills and Employment, Councillor Clare Coghill said in the press release.

    She added that the analysis "paints a grim picture of worsening job losses. It’s hard to overstate how worried we are by these forecasts".

    “Unemployment on this scale will have serious and long-lasting consequences, including widening London’s economic and social inequalities even further."

    Ms Coghill urged the government to "empower local authorities" to tackle the issue as opposed to using "top-down, centralised structures".

    People enter a job centre in central London, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009
    © AP Photo / Alastair Grant
    People enter a job centre in central London, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009

    The surge in job losses is largely due to the impact of coronavirus as the government's furlough support scheme comes to an end in September.

    The research outlines an additional "worst-case scenario" of unemployment reaching as high as 11.8% - 580,000 people - by February 2022. This is based on economic recovery being more "sluggish" than predicted.

    The report, which was put together by Putney-based economic consultancy Volterra Partners, analysed the pandemic’s current and future effect on Londoners.

    Ellie Evans, senior partner at Volterra Partners, said the report highlights "the scale of the unemployment challenge we are likely to face here in London".

    “The capital has persistently had more of its workers supported by furlough throughout the pandemic."
    “We must not forget the entrenched inequalities facing certain subgroups of the population – targeted support to improve access for these groups, break down barriers and widen opportunities must remain at the forefront of policy making," she added.

    The report identified the 16-24 age group as the worst hit by future job losses, accounting for a third of those unemployed in London.

    At 14.9%, ethnic minority residents in central London are also twice as likely to be unemployed compared to their white counterparts at 6.9%.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced the furlough scheme in the initial stages of the pandemic, where the government provides 80% of employees' wages and prevents mass unemployment.

    As the crisis has continued and lockdown measures maintained, the government has continually extended the mechanism, which is now set to come to an end in September.

    Tags:
    poverty, London, unemployment
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