Boris Johnson warned of “tough times ahead” as the nation emerges from the coronavirus lockdown, and sought to blame Labour for the failure to get more pupils back in school.
Against a backdrop of mounting evidence about the economic cost of the shutdown, the prime minister said the government had done “everything we possibly can” to help families in need, and is ready to go further “where we can”.
Research suggested around two thirds of households receiving Universal Credit have been forced into debt during the coronavirus lockdown.
It found that 60% of families receiving the benefits had turned to payday loans or using credit cards to borrow money.
The government has already injected GBP6.5 billion into the welfare system, including increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by up to GBP1,040 a year.
In response to questions from the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Johnson said: “We are fully aware that there will be tough times ahead and we do stand by to do more where we can.”
Official figures in recent days have highlighted the economic cost of the coronavirus lockdown.
Statistics released on Tuesday showed a sharp drop in the number of paid employees â€“ down by 2.1% or 612,000 in May compared with March â€“ and a huge increase in benefit claims.
Data published last week revealed that the UK’s economy shrank by 20.4% in April, the largest monthly contraction on record â€“ as the country spent its first full month in lockdown.
The number of net short positions reported to the UK’s financial Conduct Authority from the beginning of the year through to May 25 was up by a quarter compared to the same period in 2019.
However, despite this overall increase of 25%, the findings reveal that the amount of short position sizes of 3% or more in 2020 was lower than the same period last year. According to the study, there have been 1,569 short positions of at least 1% on UK stocks reported to the FCA from January 2 through to May 25. It also found that there have been 305 short positions of 2% or more, and 70 of 3% or higher.
This year’s “huge” market volatility is claimed to be behind the increase and, probably thanks to the higher number of opportunities to short individual stocks, capital has been spread across a greater range of short positions.
The largest net short position according to the FCA up until May 25 was 16.73% against Premier Oil held by Asia research & Capital Management Ltd. Shayne Heffernan, CEO and Founder of HEFFX said tension in the Gulf and then the coronavirus pandemic had increased securities market volatility this year.“
The volatility has led to opportunities to take short positions. Investors will have acted for various motives, in some cases to hedge risk and in others to take advantage of falling prices.
He said US-China relations, the looming United States presidential election and UK-EU negotiations suggested markets will see a lot of volatility in coming months.