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UK faces biggest wave of redundancies in a generation, think-tank says

Mon, 14th Sep 2020 12:01

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Britain is on course to suffer
the biggest increase in redundancies in a generation in the
second half of 2020, based on lay-off notifications by employers
hit by the coronavirus shock to the economy, a think tank said
on Monday.

Around 650,000 people, and potentially a lot more, were
likely to be made redundant in Britain between July and
December, the Institute for Employment Studies, an independent
research organisation.

"Sadly, much of this restructuring appears now to be
inevitable," it said.

Layoff notifications were running at more than double the
levels of the 2008/9 recession and around 450,000 redundancies
could occur in the July-September period - 50% more than the
quarterly peak during the global financial crisis.

However, it was not inevitable that the high level of
redundancies would lead to mass unemployment if people were able
to find jobs with new employers, the IES said.

The government should cut the costs of employment to boost
hiring and provide "tightly targeted" wage support in industries
and areas that remain viable in the longer-term, the IES said.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak has resisted calls to extend
his coronavirus job retention scheme which is due to expire at
the end of October.

Employers' groups are urging him to cut social security
contributions to soften the expected rise in unemployment.

The IES said its forecasts were based on data from employers
planning 20 or more redundancies.

Official labour market figures due on Tuesday are expected
to show Britain's jobless rate rose in the three months to July
for the first time having held at 3.9% since the COVID-19
lockdown began in March.

More up-to-date figures from Britain's tax office are
expected to reveal further job losses on top of the surge of
730,000 reported between March and July.
(Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Carmel Crimmins)

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