More than two million people could lose their jobs at the end of the government’s furlough scheme, a leading charity has warned.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) believes that nearly three million jobs will still be reliant on the scheme when it comes to an end in October.
A report by the think thank suggests that if the government fails to support workers after the furlough scheme ends it could lead to unemployment at levels “not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s”.
Clare McNeil, IPPR’s associate director, told The Observer: “The chancellor has said he will never accept unemployment as an unavoidable outcome.
“But by ending the job retention scheme too early, and with no plan for protecting jobs in local lockdowns or a second wave, that is precisely what is happening.”
The IPPR report has called for a viable successor to the furlough scheme with a focus on creating sustainable jobs in the hospitality, entertainment and construction sectors.
Commenting on the findings, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned that simply ending the furlough scheme would “plunge the country even further into a jobs crisis, and this report confirms that”.
She added: “We’ve already seen nearly three-quarters of a million jobs lost since March, and now millions more risk being lost if the government doesn’t change course.”
Despite the scheme coming to an end, research by King's College London (KCL) revealed the percentage of workers who feel certain or think it is likely they will lose their job has dropped from 29% to 25%.
While less than a third of people (29%) feel they are certain or likely to face significant financial difficulties - a decrease from 34%.
The research, by King's College London and Ipsos MORI, is based on 2,237 interviews online with UK residents aged 16-75, between July 17 and 20.
Gideon Skinner, research director at Ipsos MORI, said: "The research out today shows the significant impact that Covid-19 has had on our lives, with few Britons expecting a return to life as normal any time soon, and many prepared to undertake a wide range of measures over a longer period of time to reduce the risk of spread, if a vaccine or effective treatment cannot be found."
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