Responding to new ONS labour market figures showing that the UK’s unemployment rate is 5%, Liberal Democrats Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP said: “This is a another set of challenging figures to mark the first anniversary of lockdown.
“In a year when so many have already lost so much, it is clear that Covid-19 still poses a threat to our health and economy, with millions unable to return to work and countless small businesses unable to operate.
“Today’s figures emphasise just how important it is to maintain the furlough scheme as the economy reopens. Five million jobs currently supported could have been lost if the Chancellor hadn’t been persuaded to extend it.
“Now he has to show he’s learnt that lesson and immediately extend furlough at least until the end of the year, to avoid a potentially disastrous cliff-edge for the economy in September.”