Tens of thousands of people are being made redundant in the UK as the coronavirus pandemic stalls the economy.
After a nationwide lockdown was imposed on 23 March to try to halt the spread of the virus, all non-essential retail and hospitality had to stop, putting intense pressure on companies to stay afloat.
The pandemic and restrictions used to control the spread of the disease has plunged Britain’s economy into the deepest recession for 300 years. UK GDP fell 19% in the three months to May, and the number of employees on company payrolls fell by 649,000 between March and June.
Even now, with the economy slowly reopening, many businesses fear they are no longer viable with social distancing measures limiting customer numbers and behaviour.
As a result, companies have announced tens of thousands of redundancies, and with millions more still on furlough, experts warn this number will get higher. The government’s economics forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), has warned unemployment could more than double by the end of this year to the highest levels since the 1980s. Aviation, retail, hospitality and leisure are among the hardest-hit sectors.
In the coming months, the Guardian will track these redundancy numbers as they are announced.
Furloughs points at more to come
While the UK’s number of redundancies is high, the number who are on furlough is far higher. As many as 9.4m jobs at 1.2m companies in Britain have been furloughed so far.
The coronavirus job retention scheme will be scaled back from August and close entirely in October, at which point experts warn that furloughs could become permanent redundancies.
This is particularly the case in at-risk sectors such as hospitality, which, without a vaccine or treatment that limits the need for social distancing, will face low labour demand and significant revenue hits for the foreseeable future.
When the furlough scheme ends, some fear the redundancy count will get higher. The OBR estimates at least 10% of furloughed workers will become unemployed.
Steve Turner, the assistant general secretary of the Unite union, told the Commons business select committee: “I am fearful of a tsunami of job losses. Firms are now starting to cut their cloth to meet their needs, which will be devastating for jobs, skills and long-term resistance.”
What’s been included?
The number of redundancies shown in the visualisation are, where possible, for UK employees. In the few instances where it is not possible to break down a company’s announcement of global redundancies, we have included this number but have marked it out.
The Guardian has sourced information on company redundancies from their own announcements and media reports. While every effort has been made to include every redundancy we are aware of, the numbers listed will be an underestimate and will miss announcements from smaller companies.
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If you are aware of any redundancies that are not included on our tracker, please fill in the form below and we will look into it.