A new campaign launched today sees business leaders and politicians from across the UK join forces to lead an economic fightback against Covid-19.
Keep Britain Working will help redeploy workers from struggling sectors to in-demand ones, help people who have lost their jobs find new ones, share and implement the best ideas to help the country keep working and get people back into work.
The launch of Keep Britain Working comes just days after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted the UK economy could shrink by 35 per cent, resulting in a total of 3.4 million people becoming unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This would mean 2m people losing their jobs this spring.
The movement has already received support from Lord Alan Sugar, James Timpson, CEO of Timpson, Severn Trent CEO Liv Garfield and JCB’s Lord Bamford. As well as MPs Penny Mordaunt, Steven Brine and Caroline Nokes and MSP Jamie Hepburn, business group the CBI and trade organisations Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and the Family Business Place are also on board.
James Reed, chairman of REED and co-founder of Keep Britain Working, said the potential economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could be disastrous and businesses need to work together.
He said: “We’re on a mission to Keep Britain Working. We’ll do this by sharing the best ideas, advice and guidance to support businesses and workers, by connecting those who have lost their jobs from sectors that are struggling to those that are in demand, and by inspiring people across the nation to focus on how, where and when we work, once we move away from the current challenges.”
The campaign has been launched on keepbritainworking.com. It will encourage businesses and workers to make pledges to #KeepBritainWorking both during the crisis and beyond it.
Keepbritainworking.com also features ideas, advice and resources to support companies and their workers through this difficult time, giving guidance on topics such as supporting teams who are working, or even onboarding new recruits, remotely.
James Reed added: “None of us have ever seen anything like this. The shock waves now are much larger and faster than they were in the recession of 2009. We’re told that this is likely to be the worst recession in at least 100 years. There will be a seismic impact on employment and now more than ever we need to come together to ensure that the consequences are not catastrophic.
“Businesses must work together not only to survive these challenges but to ensure that when we emerge, we are well placed to rebuild the economy and support people back into work.
“Everyone has a part to play and can help to preserve jobs and protect livelihoods. We’re going to need as many people as possible to get involved Now’s the time to Keep Britain Working.”
More businesses across the UK are being encouraged to join Keep Britain Working and pledge their support.
Lord Anthony Bamford, Chairman, JCB, said: “As a British company, we’re delighted to support the Keep Britain Working campaign which will help our nation’s businesses in this time of great need.”
Lord Alan Sugar, Chair, Amshold Group, said: “I am happy to be lending my support to the Keep Britain Working campaign. During these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we come together to do everything that we can to help save jobs and protect both lives and livelihoods. I hope this campaign helps people stay in work, or where they have unfortunately lost their jobs, move quickly into new ones.”
Liv Garfield, chief executive, Severn Trent Water, said: “With our teams still working hard providing one of life’s essentials, we’re committed to doing the right thing by our employees, supporting them and our customers, together with creating meaningful job opportunities in the communities in which we live and work. That is why we are delighted to support this campaign.”
James Timpson OBE, chief executive of Timpson, said: “This campaign is of the utmost importance in these challenging times. By sharing ideas and working together we will protect more jobs and Keep Britain Working.”
Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director, CBI, said: “In the current crisis it is vital we support the UK’s recruitment firms to help keep an open door into the world of work. That is why the CBI is proud to support the Keep Britain Working campaign.”