If an estimated 6m small businesses in the UK supporting 16.6m jobs are in a financially precarious position as a result of the pandemic, according to King’s business school, then that means unemployment could reach over 50%, a level not seen even in the darkest days of the 1930s in the heavily industrialised north of England.
Lost jobs, lost careers
So that seems unlikely, out of a total workforce of around 27 million, but we are now prepared to contemplate figures of this magnitude. And the worst affected sectors, including retail, are now talking about how to train people away from their traditional jobs to new ones in completely different areas.
And Brexit too
Other polls talk about 15% as the upper limit, or 5 million people. All polls consider both Covid-19 and Brexit as the two main threats. Add to this the UK’s woeful productivity levels, the inevitable curbs on immigration following Brexit, the time it was take to actually get any trade deals working and our dependence on imports.
What none of the polls consider is the impact on all the people who do not work but rely on those that do. It is this impact that is certain to be the most profound and long-lasting.