Record redundancies! – JobCentre claimants rise to 2.7m

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Tate Gallery workers fighting redundancies earlier this year

NEW OFFICE for National Statistics (ONS) figures released yesterday show a record rise in redundancies of 370,000 and a fall in the number of people on payrolls since February of 819,000.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘We are staring down the barrel of mass unemployment. There’s no time left to waste.

‘Ministers must step up and create jobs. We could create 1.8 million new jobs in the next two years in green transport and infrastructure, and by unlocking public sector vacancies.

‘Confusion around the future of the furlough scheme means many workers are losing their jobs unnecessarily. We need a guarantee that support will continue.

‘And people who have lost their jobs must get the support they need to make ends meet. We need an urgent boost to Universal Credit or many face being plunged into poverty.’

Unemployment in the UK increased to 4.9% in October, up from 4.8% in the previous month.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: ‘Overall we have seen a continuation of recent trends, with a further weakening in the labour market.

‘The latest monthly tax numbers show over 800,000 fewer employees on the payroll in November than in February, with new analysis finding that over a third of this fall came from the hospitality sector.’

Meanwhile, the claimant count (the number claiming for benefits), which includes people working with low income and hours as well as people who are not working, increased to 2.7 million.

Warren Kenny, GMB Acting General Secretary, said:  ‘These job losses are catastrophic for families across the UK.

‘Since the start of this pandemic we’ve warned ministers that bold action and support from the government was needed in order to protect jobs, secure livelihoods and save industries.

‘Help from the government throughout this crisis has often been haphazard – with constant U-turns, delays in policy changes and a lack of leadership.

‘Government failings have been devastating for hospitality, aviation and public services.

‘GMB calls on ministers again to work closely with unions and put in place targeted support for the sectors that are most at risk. Our country cannot suffer another decade of poor growth and cuts to services.’

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds tweeted: ‘Redundancies rocketed to a record high of 370,000 in the three months to October.

‘That was when the clock was ticking down to the Chancellor’s furlough cliff-edge and he was chopping and changing on support for businesses. His irresponsible decisions have cost jobs.’