HALF of all British adults are now publicly funded after 6.3 million were put on leave and 1.8 million applied for universal credit in the first month of the coronavirus crisis.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s leave plan to pay 80 percent of wages up to £ 2,500 a month cost £ 8 billion in the first month – just short of the NHS’s monthly budget of £ 11 billion.
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This means that an impressive 27 million adults are now dependent on the state for at least part of their income.
Yesterday’s figures showed that 250,000 other unemployed Britons applied for the jobseeker’s allowance when the economy was devastated by the foreclosure of Covid-19.
The breathtaking figures add to the 1.2 million people who were already unemployed, 5.4 million public sector workers and 12.6 million people receiving state pensions.
This means that more than 27 million people from an adult population of just over 52 million – roughly 53% of the country – are now publicly funded.
Last night, Mr. Sunak admitted that the cost to the taxpayer was “clearly not a sustainable situation.”
Sunak said, “To all those who are concerned about this, I want to assure them today that there will be no cliff in the leave system.
“I’m working, as we speak, to find the most effective way to [furlough] and facilitate return to work in a measured way.
“As some scenarios have suggested, we potentially spend as much on the leave plan as on the NHS, for example. Obviously, this is not a sustainable situation. “
A total of 800,000 businesses have claimed 6.3 million jobs under the leave program, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.
We potentially spend as much on the leave plan as on the NHS, for example. Obviously, this is not a sustainable situation
Yesterday’s figures do not include the five million self-employed Britons who can apply for a grant of up to £ 2,500 a month.
The devastating figures expose the economic impact of the virus as Boris Johnson prepares to announce a “road map” to break the British lockdown.
According to the Prime Minister’s plan to end the country’s virtual house arrest, the whole country will see severe restrictions begin to be relaxed at the same time, with the end of May targeted.
The lockout was announced in March to curb the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 28,000 Britons.
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The daily death toll from yesterday was the smallest increase in five weeks, with 288 more people dead in the UK.
But Mr. Johnson is under pressure from some quarters to facilitate the shutdown, which has wreaked havoc on businesses and employees.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader and former secretary of labor and pensions, told the Telegraph: “This proves that we must now seek to unlock the lock urgently, as this is unsustainable for much longer. “
Sir John Redwood, a former cabinet minister, said, “In a short-term crisis, the state has to pay people who cannot work.
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” [But] leave must be a temporary measure. It cannot become the new standard; we cannot afford it. “
Mark Littlewood, chief executive of the think tank at the Institute for Economic Affairs, added, “We need to move quickly away from this massive state involvement in employment.
“If numbers like these persist, it will be a recipe for serious stagnation and long-term decline.”