Coronavirus pandemic causes record number of redundancies across Lancashire

More people were made redundant between August and October than at any point on record as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the labour market, official figures show.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 8:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 9:00 am

The Office for National Statistics said redundancies reached a record high of 370,000 in the quarter, despite a slight fall in redundancy numbers in October.

Unemployment in the UK increased to 4.9 per cent in October, up from 4.8 per cent in the previous month.

However, this was below the expectations of economists, who predicted an unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent in October.

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The latest unemployment figures show coronavirus effects even before the latest lockldown

The number of UK workers on payrolls dropped last month, and has fallen by 819,000 between February and November due to the impact of Covid-19, the ONS added.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “Overall we have seen a continuation of recent trends, with a further weakening in the labour market.

“The latest monthly tax numbers show over 800,000 fewer employees on the payroll in November than in February, with new analysis finding that over a third of this fall came from the hospitality sector.

“In the three months to October, employment was still falling sharply and unemployment was rising, but the number of people neither working nor looking for work was little changed.

“Average hours per worker were continuing to recover, though this was before the second lockdown in England.

“While there was another record rise in redundancies in the latest three months as a whole, they began to ease during October.”

The figures came for the period shortly before England entered into a second national lockdown.

Meanwhile, the claimant count, which includes people working with low income and hours as well as people who are not working, increased to 2.7 million.

Across Lancashire the picture looks bleak with an increase in the number of people claiming benefits in every political constituency.

In Blackpool North and Cleveleys, in November there were 4,500 claiming, or 9.2 per cent of the population there. This was up 4.2 per cent on the same month last year.

In Blackpool South there were 6,175 people claiming, 12.6 per cent of the population, and up 5.6 per cent on last year.

Preston had 5,375 claimants in November, 3.5 per cent of the population there, and a figure up by 3.7 per cent on last yaer.

Chorley had 3,070 claimants, 4.8 per cent of the population, up 2.4 per cent on last year, while Fylde had 2,645 claimants, 5.3 per cent of the population and up 3.1 per cent on last year.

Lancaster and Fleetwood had 3,005 claimants, 4.9 per cent and up 2.2 per cent on last year, Ribble Valley had 2,200 claiming, 3.6 per cent and up 2.2 per cent on November 2019, South Ribble had 2,310 claimants, 3.9 per cent and up 2.1 per cent on last year. Wyre and Preston North had 1,845 claiming, 3.5 per cent of the population and up 2,.2 per cent on last year.

As a result, the Government decided to extend its furlough scheme until March next year, ensuring that employees who cannot work will get up to 80% of their salaries.

Minister for employment Mims Davies said: “It’s been a truly challenging year for many families but with a vaccine beginning to roll out with more perhaps to follow and the number of job vacancies increasing, there is hope on the horizon for 2021.”

Laura Stewart-Smith, head of workplace savings and retirement at Aviva, said: “This latest data brings the impact the pandemic has had on the UK labour market into sharp relief.

“A rise in the headline unemployment rate is likely to have been driven by sectors that have absorbed the hardest income hits and businesses that were unable to adapt their operations during the second lockdown in England.

“The extension of the furlough scheme to March 2021 has provided some much-needed respite for some firms.

“However, many workers may have slipped through the net as employers prepared for the scheme to be wound down in November.”

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