A MILLION workers could lose their jobs within months as the economy goes on life support because of the coronavirus.
Businesses are already letting people go, and experts now think the figure is set to soar as the crisis tears through Britain.
The hit to employment is tipped to be even worse than the financial crisis, which saw 1.1 million people lose their jobs between 2007 and 2011.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at the investment company Hargreaves Lansdown said: “There will be bits of the economy that keep thriving, but it will be worse than last time, we are expecting more than a million jobs to go.
“The highest unemployment reached during the financial crisis was 2.713 million – and it wouldn’t be out of the question that we see rates hit this level again as the economy contracts significantly.
“15 per cent of the economy is freelancers, we know they get paid less, and we know they don’t get pensions.
“One in four people said they didn’t have any savings, so there are a large number of people who will run into difficulties, and there won’t be a buffer they will be able to fall back on.”
This week the Unite union estimated that up to a third of the UK’s 3.2 million hospitality jobs could be slashed as people stay home during the pandemic.
Companies announcing cutbacks
- Laura Ashley filed for administration
- Gatwick has cut 200 jobs
- Virgin Atlantic told staff to take 8 weeks unpaid leave
- British Airways says some pilots will face redundancy
- Football club Barnet put all non-playing staff on redundancy notice
- Liverpool John Lennon Airport says it will have to make redundancies and temporary lay-offs
It comes after the Prime Minister warned people to stay away from restaurants, theatres and pubs.
Airlines are also likely to suffer, with layoffs already planned and flights grounded.
Economists say the hit to GDP in the three months to June alone will be worse than the recession of 2008 and 2009.
The news comes after ministers last night revealed an emergency package of measures to boost the economy and save millions of jobs.
Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed their plans to provide £330billion of loans to firms who needed them.
And an extra £20billion of tax cuts through a business rates holiday and grants for smaller firms were also revealed.
Home-owners who need to defer their mortgage payments will be able to do so for three months, the Chancellor said.
And emergency measures to help renters are also on the cards in the coming days too.
The number of cases of the deadly disease in Britain has rocketed to nearly 2,000, and 71 people have died.
Meanwhile, pubs and restaurants are to be allowed they can transform into takeaways to try and keep them afloat for the next few months.
The Chancellor promised they would do “whatever it takes” to tackle the epidemic and provide economic support to everyone who needs it.
Schools are open for now but could be shut within days, the PM hinted yesterday.