South West “hit hardest by Covid job losses”

“The Chancellor’s emergency measures to protect the coronavirus-hit economy have been welcomed as good news for the South West and its vital hospitality industry.”

MPs in the South West of England are calling on the PM to exempt the region from any future national lockdown as their rural constituencies continue to have the lowest number of Covid-19 infections in the country.

“It is unthinkable we would face another national lockdown given our economy is so reliant on tourism and we have the lowest number of cases.”

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The South West has been suffering the worst in the UK when it comes to job losses:

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Where in the UK has been hit hardest by Covid job losses?

The South West of the UK – where one in ten people previously worked in food and hospitality has been hit hardest by Covid job losses, according to analysis from work tech company Orka.

The unemployment rate in the South West was 3.1% over the months of January to March, one of the lowest levels across the UK. However, this figure had jumped to 3.8% in the latest jobs data released last week, with 20,000 more people now officially seeking work.

The region has the highest proportion of workers in accommodation and food services of anywhere in the UK, at 9.6% of its workforce. The restaurant and hospitality industries were dealt a hammer blow in March as lockdown was implemented and tens of thousands of job cuts have followed.

Orka looked at ONS’ latest Business Register and Employment Survey, alongside jobs figures published last week, which showed that the UK’s unemployment rate had reached its highest level in two years…

Where in the UK has been hit hardest by Covid job losses? | London Business News | Londonlovesbusiness.com

Although the chart in the link above does show that in the South West unemployment figures are still quite good. A graphic from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released in early August shows hot spots

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Measures just announced for the South West should be of help:

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Chancellor’s new plan set to boost South West and hospitality sector

Rishi Sunak’s latest economic measures could help region’s beleaguered small businesses survive the winter

The Chancellor’s emergency measures to protect the coronavirus-hit economy have been welcomed as good news for the South West and its vital hospitality industry.

Kim Conchie, chief executive of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said the newly announced Job Support Scheme (JSS) will assist businesses over the tough winter months, and the extension of the 15% VAT reduction for tourism and hospitality businesses would prove a major boost. He said that by singling out the sector it showed Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Government had realised the huge pressure it was under…

The Chancellor’s new Support Scheme (JSS) will act as a form of wage subsidy for “viable” jobs, and replace the furlough scheme, which will be wound down next month. The JSS will allow staff to be paid by their employer for working at least a third of their usual hours, with the Government topping up part of their salary that would have otherwise been lost due to working reduced hours.

Mr Conchie said it was right that the Government did not prop up “zombie” businesses and JSS would benefit the region’s manufacturing, retail and care sectors, in addition to hospitality, and particularly help the South West where there are a large proportion of SMEs…

The deadline for taking out a coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan will be extended until November 30, with Mr Sunak also increasing the Government guarantee on them for up to 10 years. Mr Conchie said: “This will give businesses a feeling they have longer to recover before paying back loans.”

Chancellor’s new plan set to boost South West and hospitality sector – Business Live

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However, there is still considerable anxiety in the South West, as reported in today’s i newspaper:

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South West Tories demand exemption from further lockdown as infections remain low

Conservative MPs across the region claim their constituents should be exempt from any second national lockdown after region suffered UK’s highest job losses hit since pandemic hit

Conservative MPs in the South West of England are calling on Boris Johnson to exempt the region from any future national lockdown as their rural constituencies continue to have the lowest number of Covid-19 infections in the country.

The rural counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset have already been hit hard by lockdown restrictions, suffering the most jobs losses per head in the UK, according to new research.

Conservative MPs – which make up 29 of the 31 Parliamentary seats in the region – from the area told i they were lobbying ministers for a number of concessions on restrictions, including a “regional unlocking” and an exemption from any full lockdown should cases remain low…

Anne Marie Morris, Conservative MP for Newton Abbot, said: “The South West does need to be treated differently given our low infection rates and the impact of lockdown measures on our economy.”…

Christopher Loder, the MP for West Dorset, added his constituents were being punished for those breaking Covid-safe guidance and laws in towns and Cities across the UK. “The measure taken are probably proportionate across the UK, but in my constituency of West Dorset we have the lowest infection rate in the whole of England and Wales,” said Mr Loder. “We also have one of the highest proportion, some 97 per cent, of micro businesses, with many of those in the hospitality sector. For me it is unthinkable we would face another national lockdown given our economy is so reliant on tourism and we have the lowest number of cases.”

Neil Parish, the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said: “There are questions about whether we could have even more tailored measures for individual counties, like Devon, where cases are lower. I would support that.”…

South West Tories demand exemption from further lockdown as infections remain low

   
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