Minister: Consider a different job to get back to work

Asked about those from hard hit sectors such as aviation, Ms Coffey said the situation also depended on decisions by foreign governments, adding: “So, that’s why I have always encouraged people to consider what skills they have, even if it’s a temporary change in job until perhaps we get the world through this pandemic.

“I’m quite conscious things like retail is certainly going through a structural change and whether all the habits will come back.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey

/ PA Archive

There are an estimated 188,000 job vacancies at hospitality firms – about nine per cent of the industry. Just yesterday the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also announced moves to loosen rules on lorry drivers’ hours due to staff shortages.

During the interview, Ms Coffey also acknowledged some furloughed workers may lose their jobs when the scheme cuts off at the end of September but insisted the Government was “ready” to help get them into work.

Figures published by the Treasury last week show 2.4 million people remain furloughed or flexi-furloughed down from a peak of nearly 9 million at the height of the pandemic in May last year.

Ms Coffey said it was the “decision of the employer” rather than the Government whether people lose their job when the support drops off.

However, the Cabinet minister said she hoped employers will have confidence to keep workers on as the economy fully opens up, coupled with the vaccine roll out.


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