Boris Johnson warns of 'bumpy months' ahead for UK economy

said on Tuesday that the British economy faces “bumpy months” ahead following the latest spike in job losses.

The Prime Minister said the UK has a “long, long way to go” until it sees a return to “economic vitality and health”.

Wednesday’s GDP figures are expected to show Britain officially falling into recession for the first time since the 2008 financial crash.

It comes after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said about 730,000 jobs have been lost since March, based on pay as you earn data. 

Speaking hours after the ONS report, Mr Johnson said: “We always knew that this was going to be a very tough time for people.

“What we are going to have to do is to keep going with our plan to ‘build, build, build’ and build back better, and ensure that we make the colossal investments that we can now make in the UK economy to drive jobs and growth.”

Meanwhile, pressure continued to mount on Rishi Sunak (see video above) to extend the furlough scheme beyond October.

The Chancellor has repeatedly ruled out extending the Job Retention Scheme, which has supported 9.6 million workers and cost the taxpayer £34.7 billion to date. The Treasury has been warned that ending it in October could see unemployment rising to nearly 10 per cent.

Last week Mr Sunak said the scheme cannot go on “indefinitely” and that keeping it in the long run is “not sustainable”, although he did not rule out extending support in the event of a second wave of coronavirus.

Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, called on him to “act now and stop his damaging one-size-fits-all withdrawal of wage support”.

“Make no mistake – the UK is now mired in a jobs crisis the like of which we haven’t seen in decades,” she said.

Industry body the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) on Tuesday called for a “significant expansion of the Employment Allowance and a cut in employer National Insurance Contributions” to stem the impact of the economic crisis. 

Suren Thiru, the BCC’s Head of Economics, said companies face a “perfect storm” of increased costs, reduced demand, and diminished cash reserves, adding: “Unemployment is likely to surge as the Government support schemes wind down unless action is taken.

“A significant spike in job losses would be a major drag on any recovery, stifling consumer spending and reducing the productive capacity of the UK economy.”

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