UK Loses 819,000 Jobs in CCP Virus Pandemic

UK Loses 819,000 Jobs in CCP Virus Pandemic
A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past "Store Closing" signs in the window display of a Debenhams store in Manchester, northern England, on Dec. 2, 2020. (Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)
Alexander Zhang

Britain, a country of 67 million people, has lost 819,000 jobs since the CCP virus pandemic hit the country in the spring, official statistics show.

Since February 2020, the number of payroll employees in the UK has fallen by 819,000, according to figures released by Britain’s National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday.

The number of redundancies has reached a record high, and the number of vacancies has fallen dramatically.

In the three months to October 2020, redundancies rose from 217,000 to 370,000, setting a new historic record.

The UK had an estimated 547,000 vacancies from September to November 2020, 251,000 fewer than a year ago.

The UK economy has been hit hard by the lockdown measures imposed by the government to stem the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, the government ordered a national lockdown, forcing people to stay indoors, closing schools and colleges, and shutting all “non-essential” shops.

To avoid mass unemployment as a result of the lockdown, the government launched a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, paying 80 percent of the wages of millions of furloughed workers.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak initially resisted calls to prolong the support scheme, which was to wind up at the end of October. But with new CCP virus restrictions being imposed in the autumn, he announced a new Job Support Scheme, which was designed to prevent redundancies by helping to pay workers two-thirds of their wages for hours not worked.

Despite the government support, many businesses, especially in the hospitality and retail sectors, have found it hard to survive.

On Nov. 30, British retail empire Arcadia collapsed into administration, putting over 13,000 jobs at risk. Just a day later, British department store group Debenhams said it was to be liquidated, with the potential loss of 12,000 jobs.

The extra funding required to support government support schemes, combined with reduced tax revenues and a fall in gross domestic product (GDP), have all helped push Britain’s public sector net debt to a new high.

Economists think Britain will borrow about £400 billion (over $531 billion) this year, approaching 20 percent of GDP, the most since World War II.

Last month, Sunak told the Sunday Times that British people would soon “see the scale of the economic shock laid bare.”

“We know that three quarters of a million people have tragically already lost their jobs, with forecasts of more to come. Borrowing is at record peacetime levels already,” he told the BBC. “It is not just numbers on a chart, it is people’s lives and livelihoods, it’s their security being impacted. And it is something that we are going to grapple with for a while to come, sadly.”

Lily Zhou contributed to this report.