700,000 jobs could be axed as furlough scheme comes to an end

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Jobs redundancies covid-19 pandemic
The jobs retention scheme comes to an end next month
// The end of the furlough scheme could result in 700,000 jobs losses
// Some of the largest retailers have announced thousands of cuts, including M&S and John Lewis

New research has found that a total of 700,000 jobs could be scrapped as the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme draws to a close.

The Institute for Employment Studies estimated that there will be 450,000 job losses in the coming months and warned it could exceed 700,000 if employers continue to make redundancies.

Employers have to notify the government’s Insolvency Service ahead of any job cuts that involve more than 20 staff.


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Some of the largest retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and John Lewis announced job cuts since the pandemic struck the UK.

Between May and July 2020, firms notified the government of nearly 380,000 staff at risk of redundancy.

This was more than twice as many as at the height of financial crisis in 2009.

The coronavirus jobs retention scheme comes to an end at the conclusion of next month, placing swathes of employees at risk of losing their jobs if businesses cannot pay them because of the impact of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, NatWest’s research found that employment levels continued to drop across the board in August.

Redundancies increased in eight regions, including Yorkshire, which was the worst-performing region after employment fell sharply, while the slowest reduction was in Scotland.

In June, 1778 firms said they were ­intending to cut more than 139,000 jobs in England, Wales and Scotland.

Last year, only 345 firms had plans to cut 24,000 jobs.

Last week, the Centre for Retail Research found that over 125,000 jobs in the UK retail sector have been lost in the first eight months of 2020 – far higher than previous estimates.

According to the analysis, 125,515 retail jobs have been axed and 13,867 shops have permanently shut across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.

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