Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng: 'Very likely' economy will fully reopen from June 21

30 March 2021, 09:52

By Asher McShane

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has told LBC it's "very likely" the economy in England will fully reopen from the 21st of June as planned.

The final step of relaxing Covid restrictions in England depends on conditions like infection rates being low and the vaccine programme continuing successfully.

All legal limits on social contact could be removed. Mr Kwarteng told Nick Ferrari at breakfast today that the country is on track to follow Boris Johnson's roadmap. He said: "All the data we've seen suggests we are very very like to hit those targets and we are going to be able to open up on the 21st of June."

His comments come after a report warned that young people will increasingly bear the brunt of the unemployment crisis after suffering most from the impact of the pandemic.

The Prince's Trust and the Learning and Work Institute said that while some areas of the economy might start to recover, young workers are under-represented in these sectors, and the industries that typically employ them will be hardest hit in the long term.

Under-25s have accounted for three in five jobs lost during the coronavirus outbreak and youth unemployment is set to increase further as the economy recovers, said the report.

Longer term structural changes in the labour market are likely to reduce job opportunities for young people without support to improve their skills, it warned.

It was estimated that the economic cost of higher youth unemployment in terms of lost national output is forecast to be £5.9 billion this year, rising to £6.9 billion in 2022.

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The report finds disparities in the impact of the crisis on different groups of young people, raising concerns that the pandemic has, and will continue to, exacerbate pre-existing inequalities.

A Government spokesman said: "We are helping young people fight back from this pandemic by creating fresh opportunity fast.

"We have a Youth Offer in place which includes access to support from our Youth Hubs and Kickstart, which has already created 150,000 approved job placements.

"Through Skills Bootcamps, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, more apprenticeships and more traineeships, we are helping young people get the skills they need as we build back better."