The UK government has come under renewed pressure to take bold action to protect jobs, people’s livelihoods and the economy, as new statistics confirmed that the UK has officially entered into recession – its deepest on record and for the first time in more than a decade.
In its findings, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlighted that the UK’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% between April and June – when lockdown measures were in force.
The contraction was the worst of any G7 country in the three months to June so far.
Despite the month of June seeing some growth of around 8.7%, the UK’s GDP is still 17.2% smaller than it was in February.
Separately, the ONS reported yesterday that nearly three quarters of a million jobs have been lost since the coronavirus lockdown began.
Commenting, SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP (pictured) said:
“The coronavirus pandemic has delivered a devastating hammer blow to our economy, people’s jobs and livelihoods, and businesses.
“We are in unprecedented times which requires unprecedented action.
“The financial measures introduced by the UK government at the start of the pandemic were welcome and played a crucial role in safeguarding jobs.
“However, with the ONS officially confirming that the UK has entered into recession – its deepest on record and worse than any other G7 country so far – the Treasury’s rash decision to strip back support and shut it down completely in the coming weeks and months will create further hardship, lead to mass unemployment, and push businesses over the edge.
“Rather than risking a tsunami of job losses, it is now absolutely critical that the Tory government urgently extends its furlough scheme into 2021, fills the gaps in the support schemes, delivers meaningful fiscal stimulus of at least £80billion, and devolves financial powers so we can ensure a tailored response in Scotland.
“A refusal to do so would be an act of economic self-harm and would risk a repeat of the Tory failure of the 1980s – where soaring unemployment hit Scotland’s communities hard.
“The UK is on the brink.
“The Tory government has a choice to either stand by workers and businesses, or simply wind down financial support and abandon people in their time of need.”