Life on hold for young Britons out of work during pandemic

By Max McLean, PA

Young Britons have seen their lives put on hold as job security plummets during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson has urged businesses to “stand by your employees” but for many the damage has already been done, with a number of employers having announced redundancies this week.

Rebecca Ellis, 25, lives in Sheffield and lost her job as an assessment team support officer in the education sector as a result of the virus.

Ms Ellis said she is “trying to keep busy” by continuing a legal secretary course she enrolled in after Christmas, but has seen her future plans scuppered already.

Rebecca Ellis, who lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic, next to her fiance (Rebecca Ellis)

“I had a mortgage appointment this coming weekend, which I’ve had to cancel as I have no income now,” Ms Ellis told the PA news agency.

“I’m living with my fiance’s parents at the moment.

“We got engaged in August last year, we were planning on setting the date for early next year.

“Our plan for the next year was for me to get a job, then we get our own house, then we get married and eventually have a family.

“This year felt like everything was falling into place and now I am back to square one.”

Ms Ellis said that she will look for temporary work in the meantime, with social media users suggesting supermarkets and hospitals might be looking for staff.

(PA Graphics)

Keri Hudson, 30, from Bristol, is self-employed and has been travelling in South East Asia with her boyfriend – who left his job beforehand – since January.

The pair made plans to return to the UK earlier than anticipated, and Ms Hudson said they are heading home “to pretty much no income.”

She continued: “We both work in marketing so I imagine it’ll be really hard for him to find a job, and my work centres around running workshops and giving talks, which are no-goes for the foreseeable future.

“We don’t really know how we’re going to get by when we get back.”

Both Ms Hudson and her boyfriend have asthma, which leaves them at higher risk of serious illness should they contract Covid-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a coronavirus news conference inside 10 Downing Street (Leon Neal/PA)

“I’m really waiting to see what extra support Boris announces for freelancers,” said Ms Hudson.

“If he doesn’t, my biggest concern is that realistically we should both be isolating for the 12 weeks because of our asthma, but I have no idea how we’ll be able to do that and get jobs at the same time.

“It’s good to see that HMRC have set up a hotline to offer guidance, but the Government need to offer more financial support.”