UK warned to brace for ‘many job losses’ as deaths pass 50,000

The Office for National Statistics is also set to detail its latest assessment of the financial and societal damage from the disease.

Boris Johnson braced the nation dealing with a coronavirus death toll of more than 50,000 for "many job losses" as further details of the economic impact of the pandemic were set to emerge.

The Prime Minister insisted he was "very proud" of the Government's record despite the grim milestone on Covid-related deaths and his admission that large-scale redundancies were "inevitable".

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said the Government would take an "interventionist" approach to support the economy as it emerges from the lockdown.

UK warned to brace for ‘many job losses’ as deaths pass 50,000

On Thursday, the Commons business committee will hear more on the impact of coronavirus on businesses and workers, while the Bank of England will publish a list of companies which receive funding through its Covid Corporate Financing Facility lending scheme.

The Office for National Statistics is also set to detail its latest assessment of the financial and societal damage from the disease.

Meanwhile, ministers are likely to face further questions over their decision to end virtual voting in the Commons after Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who appeared visibly ill while in the chamber on Wednesday, was tested for Covid-19.

After Commons authorities undertook a deep-clean, a spokeswoman for the MP said he would self-isolate after he "began feeling unwell" while delivering the second reading of the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Bill.

Opposition MPs renewed calls for the virtual voting to be reinstated, with Labour's shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy saying "reckless doesn't even begin to describe" the scrapping of the system a day earlier.

Also on Thursday, Mr Johnson will urge world leaders to "unite humanity in the fight against disease" as he hosts an online global vaccine summit aiming to raise £6 billion to immunise millions of children in the world's poorest nations.

Though not directly involving coronavirus, for which the world is scrambling to find a vaccine, officials said the summit could help lower the likelihood of resurgences arriving in the UK from abroad by alleviating pressure on developing nations' healthcare systems so they can tackle Covid-19.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A second spike would cause further devastation for the economy, and the PM acknowledged the scale that the UK is already facing during the latest Downing Street press conference.

"I am afraid tragically there will be many, many job losses. That is just inevitable," he said.

Large sectors of the economy are being kept on life support by taxpayer funding, with businesses borrowing more than £30 billion from three Government-backed coronavirus loan schemes and 8.7 million jobs furloughed.

Mr Johnson was also facing questions over the test and trace programme to slow the disease's spread, with England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty saying it remained "in the early stages of its development".

The Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there could be 8,000 new cases of coronavirus a day in the UK and there was "relatively little room for manoeuvre" in easing the lockdown.

While the latest figures showed that 1,800 a day had tested positive, data from the Office for National Statistics suggested the true figure was significantly higher.

At the same time he said the R - the rate of transmission - was still close to 1 which meant the numbers were not coming down quickly.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said the number of deaths was also coming down "but it is not coming down as fast as we would like".

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.