One in seven Britons could be left jobless if the country suffers second coronavirus peak, OECD warnsOECD says unemployment is set to soar in UK as world struggles with lockdownFigure could hit 11.7 per cent by the end of year or 14.8 per cent if a second peakChancellor Rishi Sunak is due to unveil fresh support for employment tomorrow 

Nearly one in seven Britons could be left jobless if the country suffers a second coronavirus peak, grim estimates suggested today.

The OECD warned that the UK’s unemployment rate is likely to hit 11.7 per cent by the end of the year as the world economy struggles to recover from lockdown.

But that figure could soar to 14.8 per cent – compared to just 3.8 per cent at the end of last year – if there is another spike in cases of the deadly disease.

The predictions of 1930s-level dole queues from the respected think-tank underline the scale of the pain UK plc faces, as Chancellor Rishi Sunak prepares to unveil further massive bailouts to prop up workers tomorrow.

The OECD warned that the UK’s unemployment rate is likely to hit 11.7 per cent by the end of the year as the world economy struggles to recover from lockdown. If there is a second peak the figure could reach 14.8 per cent

The OECD said the unemployment rate should fall to 7.2 per cent by the end of next year if there is no second wave.

But secretary-general Angel Gurria said the problems were being magnified as there was not yet any clear way out of the crisis.

‘The war has to be won and it has to be won fast,’ he said.

‘We don’t have vaccine and we don’t have a medicine, we’re impotent … we’re closing down the cities like they used to do in medieval times, because it’s the only thing we know that works.’

OECD director of employment, labour and social affairs Stefano Scarpetta said: ‘Only in a matter of three to four months, in terms of unemployment, we have gone back to where we peaked after the 2008 financial crisis.

‘I think we are talking about an impact on the labour market, which is unfortunately closer to the Great Depression more than the financial crisis – the impact is massive.’

Last month the OECD warned that the UK economy would be among the worst affected in the world from the pandemic.

It expects GDP to drop 11.5 per cent in 2020, and up to 14 per cent if there is a second wave later in the year.

Mr Gurria said: ‘These numbers do not convey the massive hardship that is implied by an increase in unemployment of this scale. 

‘They mean large jumps in poverty, personal bankruptcies, depression, homelessness, crime. 

‘That’s why policy responses must be timely, they must be ambitious, and they must be sustained.’

He added: ‘The young are once again at risk of becoming the biggest losers of the crisis.’

Last month the OECD warned that the UK economy would be among the worst affected in the world from the pandemic

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