UK employment has fallen at the fastest rate in more than a decade as 220,000 jobs were lost between April and June, the largest quarterly fall since the financial crisis.
The true state of employment in Britain may be hidden by the government’s furlough scheme, as many fear they will not have jobs to come back to when the scheme winds down in October and demand for workers “remains depressed”.
Elsewhere, there is growing pressure on the government to deal with the uptick of migrants making the dangerous journey across the Channel in small boats. Immigration minister Chris Philp is to hold talks with his French counterparts in Paris to discuss the issue.
It comes after home secretary Priti Patel said the UK authorities needed to work with the French to make the route “unviable” and called the number of crossings in recent weeks “unacceptable”.
At least 597 migrants arrived on the UK’s shores between Thursday and Sunday. In total, more than 4,000 migrants have made the treacherous journey so far this year.
Prime minister Boris Johnson condemned the actions of “cruel and criminal gangs” who carry out the Channel crossings, adding the journey is “a pretty dangerous stretch of water in potentially unseaworthy vessels”.
UK ‘determined’ to work with France to stop migrants crossing Channel
The UK is in talks with France and is “determined” to work with French counterparts to stop migrants from crossing the Channel in search of asylum as the journeys are “dangerous and illegal”, junior health minister Edward Argar has told LBC Radio.
Mr Argar added that Boris Johnson wants “greater flexibility” to return migrants coming to the UK’s shores back to France, where they began their journey across the Channel.
Immigration minister Chris Philps is to hold talks with French counterparts in Paris following increasing pressure from Conservative MPs to address the uptick in crossings.
More than 4,000 migrants have made it onto British shores so far this year after the treacherous voyage across the world’s busiest shipping lane. At least 597 people arrived between Thursday and Sunday.
Home secretary Priti Patel said earlier the UK needs to work with France to make the route “unviable”, calling the number of recent crossings “totally unacceptable”.
“Across the Government we are absolutely committed to shutting down this route and we will bring down the criminal gangs that facilitate these illegal crossings.”
Secondary school pupils may post greater virus risk than primary students – reports
It has been reported that government research suggests some secondary school pupils may spread Covid-19 at a similar rate to adults.
The same research is being used by ministers to insist it is safe for pupils to return to school in September, as Boris Johnson declared it was the “national priority” and continuing closures was “morally indefensible”.
Although Sage member and president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said the findings showed schools and pupils “play a minor role in transmission of the virus”, a source in Public Health England told The Times that secondary school children are most likely to get infected and transmit the virus.
Andy Gregory reports:
A total of 73,000 people have been taken off company payroll since lockdown was first imposed in March, as the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on UK employment.
Between April and June, 220,000 people lost their jobs, the largest quarterly fall since the financial crisis more than a decade ago, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Ben Chapman has the details:
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent‘s liveblog on all things to do with UK politics today.