I’m calling on the government to do more to protect people’s incomes and businesses after new research found that a fifth of jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Research conducted by the Centre For Towns and the University of Southampton looked at the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown across England and Wales. It found that 20.4% of jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber are in the sectors that are most affected by the COVID-19 shutdown: accommodation; non-food retail; pubs and restaurants; and arts and leisure.
Last Monday, more than 140,000 firms across the country applied for the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which pays 80% of a workers salary up to a cap of £2,500 a month to stay at home.
Yorkshire and the Humber is particularly badly affected by the closure of retail stores, pubs and restaurants, with 17.5% of workers employed in these sectors. 7.4% of workers in the region are employed in pubs and restaurants, which is higher than any other region in England and Wales.
According to the research, small ex-industrial and coastal towns are most economically at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yorkshire towns of Bridlington and Worsbrough are particularly badly hit, with both towns in the top ten most economically at risk across England and Wales.
To stop the spread of coronavirus, protect our NHS and save lives, it is vitally important that the coronavirus lockdown continues. But the fact that a fifth of jobs in our region have been put at risk by the lockdown also highlights just how important it is for the government to support workers and businesses both during and after this crisis.
I am glad that the government has introduced a series of measures that provide important support to many workers. At the same time, we urgently need clarity about the future status of the government’s furlough scheme, and clearer guidance about its implementation.
To ensure that all workers are kept safe and get the support they need, the government must also act urgently to protect the incomes of those who are falling outside existing schemes and onto the overstretched Universal Credit system.