The last 18 months has been a kaleidoscope being shaken, with the pieces continuing to land in unexpected ways - Duncan Crow
It has felt to me as though the last 18 months has been a kaleidoscope being shaken, with the pieces continuing to land in unexpected ways.
Earlier in the year, there were concerns about large scale unemployment from the summer onwards, as the furlough scheme wound down.
We now see some economists mention the furlough scheme as a contributing factor to the skill shortages we have in some sectors and the unexpected very high number of job vacancies.
I think the only safe thing to say is that the full impact of the pandemic on the economy and employment has yet to fully play out.
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The number of economically active people and the size of the economy are both still smaller than pre-pandemic, but both are moving in the right direction.
One local impact is that we are in the second week of Crawley Borough Council suspending the paid-for garden waste collections that they operate.
A national shortage of HGV drivers is one reason, as well as self-isolation and Covid infections contributing. Another issue currently affecting many sectors is that previously it’s been hard to allocate annual leave and much of it is now happening as its August and the school holidays.
The pandemic has seen unexpected trends as well as accelerating others, such as a boom in online home deliveries but with retail impacts for town centres.
The government’s ongoing economic response has strongly supported the economy and protected people’s jobs.
The Conservatives have supported more than 14.5 million jobs and individuals through the furlough and self-employed support schemes, and is now helping get people back into work.
To sustain the recovery and make long-term improvements, £640 billion is being provided for infrastructure investment in roads, railways, communications, schools, hospitals and power networks across the UK.
By 2024-25, public sector net investment will be triple the average over the last 40 years in real terms.