News ID: 275648
Published: 1134 GMT October 18, 2020

One million young Britons ‘face jobs crisis within weeks’

One million young Britons ‘face jobs crisis within weeks’
Students are seen in Manchester, whose mayor, Andy Burnham, is calling on MPs to agree to extra support.

A jobs crisis is poised to hit up to a million young people within weeks, creating a new “COVID generation” that will struggle to find work, according to alarming new analysis of the pandemic’s likely economic effects.

With tensions mounting between Westminster and city regions, led by Greater Manchester, over attempts to impose further COVID restrictions, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is facing growing pressure to give greater support to young people trying to get on the first rung of the jobs ladder, reported.

Research by one of the UK’s leading labor-market experts, Paul Gregg, professor of economic and social policy at Bath University, reveals that almost one million vulnerable 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time education or employment will face significant barriers to work when the furlough scheme ends this month.

The warning comes as the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined the debate, calling for a program to encourage full employment that he described as “a matter of conscience”. He said: “It is a fundamental matter of respect and love for our neighbor that in our nation the economy is meant, among other things, to serve the cause of fulfilling work for all.”

The new study finds that the end of furlough, the scarcity of new positions and the arrival of school and college leavers in the job market will present young people with bleak prospects unless more support is offered. It warns that the prime minister’s “opportunity guarantee” to young people of an apprenticeship or an in-work placement falls “significantly short of what is needed”.

On Sunday, the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who is resisting calls for his region to be placed in the new tier 3 restrictions, was expected to call for parliament to intervene to break the deadlock with regions by creating a fair system of support for people whose employers have to close their businesses as a result of anti-infection measures.

Further evidence of the growing tension within the Conservative party has emerged after it was revealed 20 MPs from Conservative heartland seats in southern England have written to the Labor leader, Kier Starmer, and Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, asking them to work with the government’s regional policy. Starmer has called on the government to impose a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown.

The letter, signed by Norfolk MP Jerome Mayhew, said a national lockdown is the wrong approach. It said that businesses would close and jobs would be lost in Manchester irrespective of a national or regional lockdown. It goes on to claim that a national lockdown would cause tens of thousands of job losses in southern Tory constituencies despite the fact most are areas of low infection prevalence. Steve Double, Damian Green, Dan Poulter and Anne-Marie Morris are other Tories to sign.

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