Rishi Sunak’s short-term jobs plan tackles long-term failures in UK economy
Chancellor pins hope on jobs package but the economy cannot recover until people feel it is safe to return to normal
So far, so V. The subtext to UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s latest £30bn package to protect jobs was that he is gambling on a pretty rapid economic recovery. His measures were certainly bold — and at any other time would seem extraordinary. But a sluggish recovery will require further swift action, to prevent too many people falling through cracks which Covid-19 has brutally exposed.
In previous recessions, those who lost their jobs could trade down to work in coffee shops. This time, low-skilled sectors have been wiped out. This crisis has laid bare the raw underbelly of an economy built on consumption. It is impossible to know how many of the 9-million jobs supported by the Treasury’s furlough scheme will vanish when it expires at the end of October. The chancellor, perversely, must be hoping that in November, many of the bonuses he is offering to companies that take back employees will be “deadweight” payments, because normal business has resumed.