And so we limp, from one debacle to the next. The activation of Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol comes next, we have to assume, in the hope that drawing public attention to sovereign irrelevancies might distract from the growing sense of chaos in the country. House.

However, everything is at least going well in the job market. Where is it?

There has been a lot of self-congratulation – and rightly so in some ways – at HM Treasury for the government’s £ 70bn coronavirus job retention program, which finally ended last week.

The leave turned out to be an extremely expensive policy and lasted much longer than originally planned, but it was much better if some five million people were suddenly thrown into the unemployment benefit queue.

The program has significantly alleviated the scarring effects of a year and a half of on-off lockdown, and therefore can reasonably be considered relatively good value for money, even at its tempting price tag.

Looking back, we might have done the lockdown differently and therefore saved some of those costs. However, it is always possible to cite false turns in the aftermath of a crisis. Even if there hadn’t been a legally enforced lockdown in response to the pandemic, the one fear factor would have made many businesses and jobs fired anyway.

It was fairer for the government to formalize social distancing measures and compensate affected businesses and employees accordingly rather than allowing behavioral change to arbitrarily wreak havoc on people’s jobs. So there is at least one success. But not so fast.

About 1 million employees remained on leave when it closed; for them the moment of truth has arrived. Analysis from the Office for National Statistics suggests that the longer an employee is on leave, the more likely he or she is to be fired.

In addition, the holiday is ending with the economy still far from its pre-pandemic production levels.

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