Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say the latest unemployment figures highlight the need to allow more companies to operate during the crisis – and why it’s crucial that a Brexit deal is done.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the national unemployment rate rose to 4.9 per cent from 4.8 per cent in the three months to October and that there were 800,000 fewer employees in November than in February, with a third of job losses in the hospitality sector.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the latest figures were a stark warning for Government about the challenge ahead.
She said: “Many businesses will have taken decisions about redundancies with the initial end date for furlough being October.
“Just as we can’t be complacent around health purely because we have had good news of the vaccine roll-out, the same goes for our economy too – which these figures underline.
“The leisure, events, tourism and hospitality sector has been hit hardest across our patch and support for businesses must remain in place through to the end of the crisis. At that point, new help will need to be in place to drive on a recovery.
“Until we get to that stage, we have to find a way of getting more businesses trading in a safe way as they can’t wait for the vaccine to have been rolled out in full.
“And, of course, we need to finally agree on a trade deal with our EU partners and closest market in order to give businesses some sense of certainty as we head into 2021 and look to build an economic recovery from this crisis.”