The United Kingdom facing the worst jobs crisis in a generation – with young people (18–24) set to be hit particularly hard. COVID-19 is first and foremost a health crisis, but it has increasingly morphed into an economic one as well. However, this will be fundamentally different to the 2008–9 crisis. In particular, it will result in a much larger employment effect, with the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasting 3.4 million people out of work this year (up from 1.3 million).
There is a strong case for bold policy interventions to prevent youth unemployment. This report argues for the government to ‘aim higher’ in its response to the coming unemployment crisis. There are already more than 400,000 young people in this country who are unemployed (and an even larger number not in employment, education or training. This is evidence of a broken school-to-work transition. This is why the measures the authors have described in this paper are not just responses to current crisis, but permanent shifts in the UK welfare system.