The Institute for Government has published this chart of unemployment statistics for five countries this morning:
Note that the UK is lowest on the chart.
But that's only because around 25% of the UK's employees and self-employed people are on job protection schemes right now.
No one knows precisely how many jobs will be lost as a result of coronavirus in the UK: the proverbial has yet to hit the fan due to furlough. But Rishi Sunak is prematurely pulling the rug from under that scheme now. The truly torrid nature of our real likely unemployment rate is going to be revealed over the next few months and there is no reason to think we're not on a par with Ireland. The likelihood that our unemployment rate will exceed 30% is very high.
We need four things:
A government committed to full employment, come what may;
A government committed to the environment, come what may;
A government committed to a sustainable economy, come what may;
A government that truly appreciates that in a crisis like this wealth really is created by the state.
I am not convinced we have a government that understands any of those issues. If it had ti would be talking about a Green New Deal now.
I am terrified that we are easing lockdown from coronavirus too early.
But I am as worried that what follows may well be worse.
And it need not be. All the funding to address these issues is available. But the government is not willing to address them.