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43,000 people made redundant in East of England from August to October

More people were made redundant in August to October 2020 than at any point on record, according to data from The Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Peterborough Town Hall
More people made redundant in August to October than any point on record

ONS said redundancies reached a record high of 370,000 in the quarter, despite a slight fall in redundancy numbers in October.

Since June, when the government made changes to the tough lockdown measures put in place in March, redundancies have been rising. This is the sharpest rise the economy has seen since 2009, when redundancies were up at 311,000 in February to April. 

In the East of England, 43,000 people were made redundant between August to October, which was the third highest regional level in the country. In London, 48,000 people were made redundant in the same timeframe, meanwhile, the North East has the lowest in England at 12,000 while Northern Ireland has the lowest in the UK at 6,000. 

The 43,000 in East of England is a sharp increase from the 9,000 made redundant between March and May, when the furlough scheme was introduced. Redundancy numbers have climbed consistently since then across England. 

The wholesale, retail & repair of motor vehicles sector has been the hardest hit, with 68,000 redundancies across the UK between August and October. 

Workers aged over 50 are of the highest group who have been made redundant at 112,000, in comparison to 16 to 24-year-olds, with 55,000 redundancies across the UK in the same month. 

Unemployment in the UK increased to 4.9% in October, up from 4.8% in the previous month.

However, this was below the expectations of economists, who predicted an unemployment rate of 5.1% in October.

The number of UK workers on payrolls dropped slightly last month, and has fallen by 819,000 between February and November due to the impact of Covid-19, the ONS added.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: "Overall we have seen a continuation of recent trends, with a further weakening in the labour market.

"The latest monthly tax numbers show over 800,000 fewer employees on the payroll in November than in February, with new analysis finding that over a third of this fall came from the hospitality sector.

"In the three months to October, employment was still falling sharply and unemployment was rising, but the number of people neither working nor looking for work was little changed.

"Average hours per worker were continuing to recover, though this was before the second lockdown in England.

"While there was another record rise in redundancies in the latest three months as a whole, they began to ease during October."

Meanwhile, the claimant count, which includes people working with low income and hours as well as people who are not working, increased slightly to 2.7 million.

The figures came for the period shortly before England entered into a second national lockdown.

As a result, the government decided to extend its furlough scheme until March next year, ensuring that employees who cannot work will get up to 80% of their salaries.

Minister for employment Mims Davies said: "It’s been a truly challenging year for many families but with a vaccine beginning to roll out with more perhaps to follow and the number of job vacancies increasing, there is hope on the horizon for 2021."