2.7 Million Workers Missing

The UK has the highest rate of citizens in the G7 who are off work and not seeking work due to long-term sickness. This trend was increasing before Covid, but the pandemic has contributed to further rises.

The UK government and the current Labour opposition have pledged to combat the rise. Both parties have pledged to crack down on long-term benefit abuse to encourage people back into work.

However, many people are long-term sick due to Covid. Also, the NHS has struggled to provide ongoing care and rehabilitation for those with Long-Covid.

Another factor is that some older workers decided not to return to work after the Covid lockdowns. These former workers are not actually claiming benefits – most have taken early retirement and are living off their employer pension schemes. In the case of the NHS, some NHS staff have taken early retirement due to the burnout from dealing with Covid.

It should also not be overlooked that some of the workforce has returned via part-time employment, frequently in other industries.

However, the total number of non-working adults has increased to 2.7 million. It is not just the strain of those within that figure who are claiming benefits – the real cost is the shortage of people overall in the workforce. The 2.7 million are sorely missed by employers throughout the UK.

For further background, please see the links below:

The Guardian

The Resolution Foundation