One million more Brits facing unemployment by Christmas as furlough ends, warn experts

One million more Brits facing unemployment by Christmas as furlough ends, warn experts


A million more Brits could face unemployment by Christmas as furlough comes to an end – with commuter towns and seaside resorts to be hardest hit, experts have warned.

The coronavirus pandemic has already seen the amount of people forced onto benefits triple in some of the worst hit areas of the UK, including key manufacturing hubs.

An in Britain’s 10 worst-affected spots there are 138,000 people now claiming, an extra 75,000 compared to the start of the year – with the middle classes quickly being sucked into the recession.

Analysis by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) has revealed Slough, Luton and Peterborough, as well as Brighton, are among the places at risk of becoming job wastelands.

Using Office for National Statistics data showing the claimant count up to September 10, economists estimate the end of the furlough scheme will see one million more jobs gone in just nine weeks.

Doug McWilliams, CEBR’s deputy chairman, told the Daily Mail: “The middle class is likely to get hit much worse as we go on.

“A lot of management jobs have gone, a lot of professional jobs have gone, and some specialist ones.

“The middle classes have a jobs crisis – their pensions are squeezed and house prices will be lower.”

The CEBR has named the worst-hit cities and towns, many of which have seen jobs decimated by the slump seen in sectors like aviation, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism. 

London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool are excluded from the research, which focuses on towns and regional cities – usually struggle far more to recover from recessions.

With Downing Street’s new three-tiered approach targeting regions with the most cases likely to make matters worse for local economies, as will those areas reliant on struggling major firms.

Slough, for example, relies on employment at Heathrow and Easyjet HQ Luton, and has seen a spike in benefits claimants, tripling and more than doubling in a year, respectively.

While the unemployed has doubled to 11.7 per cent in seaside tourist hotspot Blackpool, now subject to severe tier 3 measures.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has expanded his less generous winter jobs scheme, but some experts fear once the initial furlough ends on October, some industries will nose dive off a “cliff edge”.

Local leaders in the hardest hit areas, including Tory MPs for Middlesbrough South Simon Clarke and Blackpool North Paul Maynard, are among those calling for targeted government support.

Mr Maynard said: “Any economy which is seasonal and is now facing the equivalent of three winters in a row will see a significant uptake of universal credit. We need to stabilise the situation.”


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