Jansev Jemal, Research and Policy Director at PBE, said: 

“The looming threat of recession remains, with these latest figures showing the largest quarterly fall in job vacancies in two years. However, vacancies still stand at 1.2 million, while unemployment actually fell 0.3 percentage points on the quarter to 3.5%.

“Economic inactivity continues to cause alarm having climbed a further 0.6pp on the quarter and totalling more than 9mn nationally. Worryingly, this is being driven by a record high number of people who are long-term sick, as well as students.

“Recent ONS research found that more than nine in 10 civil service and local government workers (95%) said they had access to in-work support for health problems, while nearly half of those in private sector industries, such as hospitality (48%) and arts, entertainment and recreation (46%), reported they did not have access to such support.

“Policymakers have recognised the need for specialist employment support for those suffering with long-term ill health, with a new £122mn scheme aimed at giving those receiving mental health support access to an employment adviser.

“There are charities across the UK that specialise in delivering the employability support that is widely needed, especially for those with mental ill health. The government’s new scheme presents an opportunity for this network of charities with specialist expertise to support a programme aimed at increasing participation in the workplace.”

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