Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds has warned that Britain is facing unemployment “on a scale we haven’t seen in this country for many decades”.
It comes as official figures reveal the number of UK workers on company payrolls plunged by 612,000 between March and May.
Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Mr Reynolds called on the government to act quickly in its response to the looming economic damage.
“We think we need a budget, we think there should be one focus of that budget and it should be jobs, jobs and jobs again,” he said.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed today that early estimates suggest the number of paid employees slumped by 2.1 per cent in May compared to March as the coronavirus lockdown hammered Britain’s labour market.
Meanwhile, unemployment benefit claims have soared by 1.6 million (up 125.9 per cent) since lockdown was first imposed in March, the ONS said.
This jump in Universal Credit claims by the unemployed and those on low incomes equates to a 23.3 per cent month-on-month rise in May, bringing the total number of claimants to 2.8 million.
And job vacancies also plummeted to an estimated 476,000 between March and May - the lowest since current records started in 2001.
At the end of April there were 8.4 million people who are temporarily away from work, including furloughed workers, a rise of by six million since the end of March.
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