UK employers planned more than 300,000 redundancies this summer as the coronavirus pandemic continued to take its toll on the economy.
Figures obtained by a BBC Freedom of Information request show 1,784 firms made plans to cut nearly 150,000 jobs in July, a near sevenfold increase on the year before. While in June, 1,888 employers planned 156,000 cuts.
Last month the UK entered into its first recession in 11 years after the coronavirus lockdown forced some sectors of the economy to close entirely, while factory and construction output also fell.
The economy shrank 20.4 per cent between April and June compared to the first three months of the year.
The government has introduced a wide range of initiatives, including the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, to kickstart the economy again but UK firms have already announced a swathe of job cuts.
Retailers Boots, John Lewis and M&S were among names to announce redundancy plans in June alongside Zizzi owner Azzurri.
Firms planning 20 or more redundancies must by law notify the government via a HR1 form, saying how many roles they want to cut. The number of firms filing notice and the number of positions expected to be axed indicate just how many redundancies are yet to come.
The unemployment rate has stayed relatively low but there is a lag in the data so has not yet shown an increase in the number of redundancies. There are fears that the end of the job retention scheme, which sees the government pay up to 80 per cent of furloughed staff’s wages, next month is likely to trigger another wave of redundancies.
The economic outlook is made all the more gloomy by the more permanent shift to remote working. Some UK firms have signalled a more permanent move away from the office and there are mounting concerns among government officials that city centres could be decimated as a result.
Pret A Manger, which relies on a steady stream of office workers, has already announced 2,800 job cuts.