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Covid recession is hitting vulnerable groups hardest, new report finds

THE Covid-19 recession is having a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable people in Britain, a report revealed today. 

People who are young, low-paid, black, in self-employment, with low levels of eduction or living in large families are most likely to have lost their jobs, not be working any hours or to have suffered pay cuts in the current crisis, according to the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance (CEP).

For workers who were earning less than £151 per week in February, the probability of being furloughed or having hours cut by at least half is almost three times higher than for those earning more than £600 per week, the report found.

Workers aged 18-24 who were still employed in June were almost 18 per cent more likely than those aged 35-54 to have had their hours cut by at least half or to have been furloughed. 

Report authors Brian Bell, Mihai Codreanu and CEP director Stephen Machin said that the crisis — the largest shock to Britain’s economy since at least the 1980s — has the scope to cut deeper and over a longer term than in the past. 

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: “We must not emerge from this with a more unequal economy. We need to seize the moment to build back better, with living wages, job security and fair opportunities for every worker. We must end the systemic discrimination that many working people across our jobs market continue to face.

“The government must recognise that it can't get the recovery right alone. The voices of working people need to be at the table too. We need a national recovery council that will bring government, business and unions together to plan a fair recovery.”

GMB acting general secretary John Phillips said the report should serve as a stark warning for the government. 

“Unless they start doing more for the most vulnerable, then the impact of this recession will be catastrophic and long-lasting,” he told the Morning Star.

“When the Tories are in Number 10 it’s always the vulnerable that suffer, and it’s clear from this report that the Covid crisis will send shockwaves down the line for years to come.

“GMB has been campaigning for the government to do so much more for those most at risk from the social and economic impact and we will continue to do so. 

“But as we’re yet to see that, our message for workers is clear: if you’re not a member already, now is the time to join a union.”

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: “We must not emerge from this with a more unequal economy. We need to seize the moment to build back better, with living wages, job security and fair opportunities for every worker. We must end the systemic discrimination that many working people across our jobs market continue to face.

“The government must recognise that it can't get the recovery right alone. The voices of working people need to be at the table too. We need a national recovery council that will bring government, business and unions together to plan a fair recovery.”

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