Rescue and recovery: Covid-19, jobs and income security

The UK government's response to the unemployment crisis so far relies on a quicker bounce back in economic activity than either the Office for Budget Responsibility or the Bank of England are predicting. No plans have been put in place to protect jobs or businesses in the event of future local lockdowns once the government’s Job Retention Scheme (JRS) ends, or indeed if there is a second wave requiring national lockdown measures. In the first ‘stabilisation and rescue' phase of the crisis, the government introduced a range of emergency measures to preserve jobs and support incomes. In the next phase of the crisis that we are moving into, the job of the government is to support the economic recovery. In the case of the labour market it must do this by stimulating the economy through large-scale public investment to support the creation of new jobs and help for some workers to switch to new sectors.