The government’s coronavirus leave plan ends today after supporting millions of workers during the pandemic.
Ministers say wages for more than 11 million jobs were subsidized for at least part of the plan’s life, at a cost of around £ 70bn.
There is now uncertainty about the nearly 1 million people still believed to be in the plan as of late September, according to estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Economists say there is likely to be a rise in unemployment due to further layoffs, even though some may find work in recovering sectors such as travel and hospitality.
Job vacancies in the UK have reached a record of over a millionAccording to recent data from the ONS, openings in the hospitality and transport sectors increased more than 75% in three months.
But Samuel Tombs, UK chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said he still had “doubts” as to whether the economy had recovered enough to re-employ everyone who got off the leave.
The liquidation of the scheme could hit some especially hard, as it comes at the same time as the £ 20 universal credit increase ends, and amid a backdrop of rising energy bills.
The Liberal Democrats have warned of a “surge” in job losses and want licensing to continue for some sectors.
In a letter to the chancellor, Liberal Democrats Treasury spokeswoman Christine Jardine said the license should be held for another six months for 10 industries particularly affected by the pandemic, such as air travel.
“License withdrawal without a permit runs the risk of having a devastating impact on countless families already facing a winter of dizzying energy bills,” said Ms. Jardine.
“The government needs to rethink its approach or the country could face a Coronavirus Black Thursday.”
The party says the extension would cost around £ 600 million.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will also reportedly announce a grant program to help the poorest households this winter.
The plan could see up to £ 500 million distributed through local authorities, according to Bloomberg.
It would replace the COVID local support grant, which also ends Thursday after helping people with food and bills during the pandemic.
The Treasury has not yet confirmed the reports.