Unemployment fears mount in UK holiday hotspots with mass job cuts predicted

Unemployment fears mount in UK holiday hotspots with mass job cuts predicted

The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) warned almost a third of jobs in Cornwall, the Cotswolds and the Isle of Wight are under threat as a result of the crisis. The RSA research – based on Government furlough statistics – found 66,878 jobs could be in the southwest alone if the hundreds of thousands of tourists and holidaymakers who usually flood the region during the summer months stay at home.

North Norfolk could suffer 10,063 jobs losses for the same reasons and there are also bleak predictions of 13,313 losses in Pembrokeshire, 14,458 in Scarborough and 10,074 in Argyll and Bute in the Scottish Highlands.

The Cotswolds, England’s largest Area of Outstanding National Beauty, is facing up to 13,526 losses and 15,423 more are threatened on the Isle of Wight.

Proportionally they are among the top 20 areas most at risk across Britain, with one in three jobs nationwide believed to be on the line.

The Yorkshire Dales, home to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Richmond constituency, could see 5,965 potential losses and 7,989 jobs are under threat in the Lake District.

The number of threatened roles in London and the capital’s commuter belt are also substantial, with 71,761 at risk in the City, and 79,862 in Camden.

The RSA said its findings offered “robust and localised insight” into the areas of the UK which could be hardest hit by the economic fall-out of coronavirus.

The charity is calling for a new “social contract” – the agreement of rights and responsibilities between the state, employers and employees – with a focus on universal economic security and re-skilling.

Head of RSA Future Work Centre Alan Lockey said: “No part of the country is likely to be spared a severe recession, but those most dependent on hospitality and tourism will be particularly badly hit, especially rural areas, including many Tory shires.

“The Government’s response so far has been robust, but it must avoid going back to ‘business as usual’ – including Universal Credit, sanctions and means-testing – if it’s to avoid the devastating impact of prolonged unemployment on whole swathes of the population.

“COVID-19 only highlights the need for a welfare state which addresses the economic insecurity felt by growing numbers of people in the UK.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes through this crisis.

“That includes covering 80 per cent of staff wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, for businesses hit by COVID-19.

“More than 500,000 claims have already been made under the scheme, protecting millions of jobs across the UK.”

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove warned recently that “at the moment and for some time to come” people should not travel to visit popular destinations such as Cornwall.

The Bank of England has warned coronavirus could see the economy plunge 14 percent this year in the worst annual fall for more than 300 years.

In its first official outlook on the toll taken on the UK’s finances by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank cautioned over a “very sharp” fall in gross domestic product (GDP) of close to 30 percent over the first half and a “substantial” hike in unemployment.

It expects GDP to fall by around 3 percent in the first three months of 2020 and then plunge by a further 25 percent in the second quarter, although it said there was uncertainty over the forecasts.

Britain’s unemployment rate could hit 9 percent in the second quarter as the lockdown hammers firms across the economy, although with six million people expected to have been furloughed, it said Government schemes will help soften the blow.

Published at Fri, 08 May 2020 21:01:00 +0000