The Boris Johnson government is under increasing pressure from its own ranks to provide some oxygen to the economy in the midst of the pandemic. In April, the first month that the British were entirely confined, the number of people applying for unemployment assistance rose from 856,500 to 2.1 million, the highest rise in a month since 1996. Overall, in the first quarter of the year, UK unemployment rose by 50,000 people compared to the same period last year, bringing the unemployment rate to 3.9%, according to the latest data released yesterday by the National Statistics Office (NSO).
The director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Jagjit Chadha, warns that due to the impact of the coronavirus, the unemployment rate is expected to reach 10% in the coming months, something not seen on British soil since the early nineties.
For its part, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has recorded a fall of 2% in the first quarter of the year, the largest drop since 2008, which has led the Executive to assume that the country is on the road to recession.
In short, the covid-19 has devastated the world and governments on both sides of the Atlantic are now facing a complex situation. However, in the midst of the great crisis, the United Kingdom is an exceptional case. And not only because it is the second country in the world with the most deaths, only behind the United States. The death toll has risen to 35,341. But because, in the midst of the biggest global challenge in peaceful times, Downing Street has to deal with a historic divorce at the same time: the Brexit will finally materialise on 31 December.