The pandemic has exposed the weakness in the UK’s austerity-hit social safety net – something many claimants have only just discovered
As the Conservatives launched their 3D virtual conference only to suffer a technical glitch that meant the audience couldn’t hear what ministers were saying, it was hard not to be aware of the symbolism: half a year into the government’s inept handling of the coronavirus crisis, for all the bluster, they may as well be talking to themselves.
Few things demonstrate this more than the strategy – or lack thereof – for addressing the economic fallout of the pandemic. As furlough comes to an end this month and the spectre of mass unemployment in Britain looms, there is barely even a pretence by the government that it has a plan to help families pay their bills. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge to provide new “job coaches” is little help when there are no jobs.