Tuesday 13 October 2020 9:50 am

Record rise in redundancies as firms battle coronavirus crisis

Redundancies soared to the highest level in more than a decade, rising by a record 114,000 between June and August, due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that redundancies increased by 113,000 on the year, and a record 114,000 on the quarter, to 227,000.

Read more: UK unemployment: Experts say job losses to jump as furlough ends

The annual increase was the largest since April to June 2009 and the number of redundancies reached its highest level since May to July 2009.

The latest figures published this morning also showed that an estimated 1.52m people were unemployed during the period – 209,000 more than a year early and a 138,000 jump on the previous quarter.

The UK unemployment rate increased by 0.6 percentage points to 4.5 per cent.

The rise in unemployment and redundancies comes as the government’s furlough scheme is brought to an end, with critics saying its replacement may need to be “beefed up” to avoid more job losses.

Matthew Percival, CBI director for people and skills, said: “These figures are starting to show what everybody knew to be true; that redundancies are on the rise.

“While it’s promising to have seen vacancies pick up over the summer, the number of those out of work also grows.

“The Government’s flexibility and support packages have reduced job losses substantially over the summer and making support match tiered local lockdowns will protect jobs too.

“Successfully ramping up the testing regime will be a key component to securing an economic recovery down the road.”

Laura Stewart-Smith, workplace savings manager at Aviva, said government support measures throughout the summer had kept unemployment and redundancies relatively low.

However she said: “These latest figures point to disruption in the UK’s work force.

Read more: Coronavirus: UK job losses could reach 700,000 by end of the year

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, added that unemployment and redundancies are expected to continue to rise.

“Job losses are likely to keep mounting as this turbulent year draws to a close,” he said.

“With the furlough scheme unwinding, cash-strapped firms have been forced into difficult decisions about retaining their staff.

“Demand remains weak and as restrictions ramp up again many businesses will be stretched when it comes to paying wage bills.

“The Job Support Scheme may need to be beefed up if the Government wants to avert further rises in unemployment.”