One million employment opportunities… let’s put them to use and boost Britain’s post-Covid economic recovery

IT’S been a long time coming but we are finally seeing the first signs of post-Covid economic recovery.

It is a remarkable turnaround after the pandemic mothballed huge chunks of the economy.

‘Cash is flowing, jobs are growing and the threat of runaway inflation has eased’[/caption]

Yet businesses know they must go into the autumn and winter under a huge cloud of uncertainty.

The scientists are pushing the Prime Minister to be ready to go “hard and early” to reimpose mandatory face masks, vaccine passports and work-from-home edicts.

And Boris Johnson yesterday said that, while he hopes this won’t be necessary, he cannot rule it out either. Indeed, he wouldn’t even rule out a fourth lockdown. You could feel the chill wind blow across the economy as he spoke.

The PM said: “It’s just not sensible to rule out completely this kind of option now when we must face the fact that it might still make the difference between keeping business open at full capacity or not.”

A new crisis crackdown would be a hammer blow just as the economy is bouncing back.

Cash is flowing, jobs are growing and the threat of runaway inflation has eased — at least for the moment.

Far from a predicted spike in unemployment, more jobs are being created than there are people ready to fill them.

Company payrolls are back to pre-pandemic levels and firms are scrambling over each other to recruit workers with bigger wages than ever before.

The number in work shot up in August by 241,000 to 29.1million, lifting employment in all regions except London, Scotland and South East England.

Meanwhile, job vacancies soared to more than one million in August for the first time since official records began — up by more than a third in three months across all sectors of the economy. Inflation is under control, relieving pressure on state pension rises.

Yet the fragile British economy is still in intensive care. One false move — another lockdown, either for Covid or winter flu — will send us crashing back to square one.

For the moment, Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak deserve credit for delivering a rosier economic picture than even they expected a few weeks ago.

And it is a vivid rebuke to the Labour Party and trade unions whose constant demand for more cash and Covid restrictions would have killed the recovery stone dead.

Yet Boris and Rishi cannot afford to relax. There are still plenty of challenges. We have yet to feel the impact of a million workers facing up to the end of furlough next month.

Yet the fragile British economy is still in intensive care.

Trevor Kavanagh

Not all those let go will get jobs immediately. But at least there are vacancies for all if they are prepared to try new challenges.

The £20 uplift for Universal Credit is also due to end, hitting some poor families hard.

Inflation is lower than expected but it is still lurking, ready to bite chunks out of savings and disposable incomes.

And we have yet to feel the impact of last week’s stunning hike in National Insurance contributions and council tax rises, which will hit household incomes next spring.

This Government must start taking tough decisions — such as reversing the allure of working from home.

Millions of public sector workers — paid by taxpayers — need to return to empty offices, breathing life back into our ghost towns and cities. Without them back at their desks, spending money at street level, millions of shops, pubs, cafes and food outlets risk going bust.

All the same, there are reasons to be cheerful. Wages are rising at last, providing more spending money.

Big business is sitting on a mountain of cash since the Brexit referendum. And money is flowing in from overseas investors ready to take a bet on UK plc.

This is a remarkable bounce back after breaking free from the European Union and three emergency Covid lockdowns which hammered the economy.

All the same, there are reasons to be cheerful. Wages are rising at last, providing more spending money.

Trevor Kavanagh

Which brings us to the biggest challenge of all.

Debate will rage for years over the justification for those lockdowns, expressly to save the NHS from meltdown.

But the NHS was never close to collapse. It never needed the vast Nightingale pop-up hospitals scattered around the country.

Self-inflicted harm

It did not need the private hospitals commandeered at great cost in case of overspill. More than 80 per cent of the adult population is now jabbed.
Four out of ten Covid cases that need hospital treatment are contracted IN hospital.

Of those who die with Covid, more than nine out of ten have not been vaccinated for one reason or another. Most have pre-existing ailments, including obesity.

Despite a return to school by millions of children, there has been no surge in cases.

The average age of deaths has now risen to 84 — at a time when the average life span is just over 81.

If we have not actually tamed this terrible disease, we are certainly now in a position to begin living with it.

Yet Boris is still refusing to rule out another lockdown — either for Covid or winter flu.’

If we shut down again, it will be an act of sheer political panic, of self-inflicted harm.

With the economy on the mend and the pandemic beginning to ease, this is the time to keep your nerve, Boris.

Bounce Back Britain

IT’S high time Britain bounced back from lockdown — and The Sun aims to help you lead the way.

With shops reopening, sport relaunching and families joyfully reuniting from next week, our major new Bounce Back Britain campaign intends to put people, communities and businesses back on their feet.

Check out how we’re doing it here.

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