Over June and July, UK employers planned 300,000 redundancies as COVID-19 hit businesses hard.
This is according to data gathered by the BBC, by making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Insolvency Service. In June, 1,888 English, Scottish and Welsh firms made plans to cut 156,000 jobs, which is six times higher than June 2019. In July, 1,784 businesses stated they would be cutting nearly 150,000 jobs, which is seven times more than the previous year.
This means that the number of redundancies planned during this period may have actually been higher as certain companies made less than 20 redundancies.
It is the law that the Government must receive an HR1 form from any business that is planning on making 20 or more redundancies.
Companies such as Tui, Pizza Express, Virgin Atlantic, Debenhams, TSB, Centrica, Royal Mail, the Arcadia group, Boots, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Zizzi owner Azzurri, and DFS have all announced job losses and redundancies.
A government spokesman said:
We are continuing to support livelihoods and incomes through our Plan for Jobs to ensure that nobody is left without hope or opportunity. This includes a £1,000 retention bonus for businesses that can bring furloughed employees back to work.
We are also creating new roles for young people with our Kickstart scheme, creating incentives for training and apprenticeships, and supporting and protecting jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors through our VAT cut and last month’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Hiring intentions have been steadily growing throughout the past couple of months as ManpowerGroup, a recruitment firm reported that employer’s hiring intentions witnessed a four-point increase compared to the previous quarter.
Mark Cahill, managing director of ManpowerGroup UK said:
The headline number illustrates just how tough the labour market is currently. This is still the second weakest Outlook we’ve seen since 1992. But the four-point national increase from last quarter, along with a positive trend in several key sectors, is cause for some cautious optimism.
Despite the end of the furlough scheme in October and signs of a resurgence in the virus in some areas, employers expect the UK jobs outlook to be tentatively heading in the right direction as 2020 ends.
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), an independent economic research institute predicts that closing the furlough scheme at the end of October could result in unemployment reaching 10 per cent this year.