The class divide has never been more pronounced has of when we examined the fallout that covid has brought.
The UK unemployment rate rose more than expected August, hitting its highest level in three years as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, the unemployment rate increased to 4.5% from 4.1% in July, coming in above consensus expectations of 4.3%.
According to the ONS, an estimated 1.5 million people were unemployed between June and August, while redundancies stood at 227,000.
Redundancies increased in June to August by 113,000 on the year, and a record 114,000 on the quarter, to 227,000. The annual increase was the largest since April to June 2009, with the number of redundancies at its highest level since May to July 2009.
ONS deputy national statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said: “The latest monthly tax numbers show that the number of employees on the payroll was little changed in September. However, in total there were still nearly 700,000 fewer than in March, before the lockdown.
“Our newly adjusted survey figures show that in the latest period almost half a million fewer people were in work than just before the pandemic, while almost 200,000 others said they were employed but were currently not working nor earning any money.
“Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work. There has also been a stark rise in the number of people who have recently been made redundant.”
Those with the broadest shoulders…
In contrast, Billionaires have seen their fortunes hit record highs during the pandemic, with top executives from technology and industry earning the most.
The pandemic has exposed how brittle our society is at the extreme ends of the class divide
The wealth of the world’s billionaires has reached a record high during the coronavirus pandemic – despite millions of people continuing to face the prospect of unemployment.
The richest managed to increase their fortunes to record levels between April and July, when the COVID-19 crisis was continuing to escalate.
A report by Swiss bank UBS and accountancy firm PwC covered about 2,000 billionaires and discovered their wealth hit $10.2trn (£7.9trn) in July.
The figure broke the previous record of $8.9trn (£6.9trn) at the end of 2019.
The billionaires had mostly increased their fortunes through betting on the recovery of global stock markets, taking advantage of gains in the technology and healthcare sectors.
Time to break the rigged system
There will, of course, be vigorous, even rancorous, political debates about policies to advance the economy, welfare and wellbeing of our communities. But those debates should at least be forged in the service of a coherent, determined and optimistic plan for national rejuvenation. Our future the so-called ‘great reset’ should include peoples assemblies, where we the people have a say in our own destines the direction of our communities and not leave fate and the future of our children to these Charlatan’s in parliament who have been caught out at the first hurdle in this existential crisis.
Covid-19 is not our destiny. But what comes after will set our course and at that, we cannot leave it to these representatives that have been found wanting.
The other half…
Jonathan Athow, the ONS’s deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said there had been a “sharp increase” in those out of work and job hunting since March.
“Overall employment is down about half a million since the pandemic began and there are particular groups who seem to be most affected, young people in particular,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.
“[Of those out of work] about 300,000 are aged 16-24, so about 60% of the fall in employment… that’s really disproportionate.”
Mr Athow said the large number of redundancies had been focused on sectors such as hospitality, travel and recruitment.
The number claiming work related benefits, meanwhile, hit 2.7 million in September – an increase of 1.5 million since the beginning of the crisis in March.
Most expect unemployment to rise further after the government’s furlough scheme is replaced with a less generous wage support package in November.
On top of this, from this week tougher local restrictions will force pubs, bars and other hospitality and leisure businesses in England to close in the most infectious areas, as has already happened in parts of Scotland.
The government has offered to pay two thirds of workers’ wages if their employer is affected, but some say this falls short.
“The fallout from the Covid-19 recession is intensifying,” said Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics.
“What’s more, the prospect of the latest Covid-19 restrictions leading to the economic recovery stalling, if not going into reverse, means worse lies ahead.”
Analysis from Citibank suggests the unemployment rate could hit 8.5% in the first half of 2021 – a level not seen since the early 1990s.
Analyst James Smith said UK unemployment was set to rise further on the combined impact of fresh Covid-19 restrictions and the end of the original furlough scheme.
“That’s likely to put renewed pressure on the Bank of England to add stimulus at its November meeting,” he added.