Furlough has ended for almost 16,000 workers in Leeds

Furlough has ended for almost 16,000 workers in Leeds amid fears raised by one pressure group that youth unemployment could rise as a result.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:45 am
Albion Place in Leeds city centre pictured in May 2020 when shops weer still closed during the Covid pandemic. Photo: James Hardisty

Yesterday (Sept 30) marked the end of the Government’s £70 billion Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - commonly known as furlough - which has supported millions of UK workers over the past 18 months.

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Government figures show there were 15,940 workers on furlough in Leeds as at July 31 this year.

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Kat Gwyther from Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs

Uncertainty remains for the future of almost one million workers across the country who were expected to be still receiving support through the financial scheme at the end of September, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

Economists have warned that although many may find work in recovering sectors such as hospitality and travel, there is also likely to be a rise in unemployment due to new redundancies.

Pressure group Youth Fight for Jobs said that because sectors employing large numbers of young people, such as hospitality, were amongst the worst hit by the pandemic, then it is likely that youth unemployment will significantly rise.

Youth Fight for Jobs is organising demonstrations across the country on October 9, including a Yorkshire March for Jobs in Leeds from 12pm meeting up from 12pm on Millennium Square.

Kat Gwyther from Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs said “Young people have been amongst the hardest hit during the pandemic, with many young workers losing their jobs in sectors like hospitality and retail, whilst young people at university faced being locked down in halls of residence and paying full tuition fees for a year of online learning.”

“We need action from the government and local authorities to invest in young people’s future."

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke has said there will be some job losses as a result of the end of furlough.

He said: "Furlough has protected 11.6 million jobs in total ... at some point you have to end these emergency measures.

"People's jobs will be created just as some have very sadly been lost, that is part of the process of ending this crisis and going back to normal."

Alan Custis, head of UK equities at Lazard Asset Management, said the rate of unemployment, which dropped to 4. per cent last month, is likely to swing higher again.

He said: "There will also be a percentage who choose retirement over returning to work, but we would expect the unemployment rate to settle at around five per cent for the year end, before falling in 2022."

The 15,940 workers on furlough in Leeds as at July 31 this year comprise of 1,760 in manufacturing; 1,070 in construction; 2,270 in motor vehicle repairs; 1,160 in transportation and storage; 2,520 in accomodation and food service; 1,040 in information and communication, financial and insurance and property; 1,440 in professional, scientific and technical; 1,720 in administration and support service; 770 in health and social work; 760 in arts, entertainment and recreation; 690 in other service activities and 740 in other.

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