These are deeply troubling times for the businesses and workers across the country who form the backbone of our economy and are looking to this Government to provide reassurances that they will continue to be supported, not cast aside as the recession worsens and we enter a potential second wave of the pandemic. The furlough scheme has been a welcome lifeline for many businesses. In my constituency of Ilford South, 17,500 people—a third of those in work—were furloughed at the peak of the crisis. The flipside is that a significant number could sadly be unemployed when the furlough scheme ends, with a cataclysmic knock-on impact in Ilford and across east London and Essex.
Indeed, the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that between 10% and 20% of those currently on furlough will end up unemployed when the scheme ends. In my constituency, that would mean more than 4,500 people being thrown on the dole. Recently, the Bank of England predicted that a further 1 million more people will be unemployed by Christmas, with potential headline unemployment rising to more than 2.5 million.