Third of workforce ‘could be furloughed or made redundant’

Analysis claims 900,000 people in Scotland will either lose their job or be enrolled on the Jobs Retention Scheme.

Third of workforce ‘could be furloughed or made redundant’ Pixabay

A third of Scotland’s workforce could be furloughed or made unemployed by the Covid-19 outbreak, a think tank has warned.

In a new report, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says up to 750,000 workers could be enrolled on the UK Government’s Jobs Retention Scheme during this quarter.

The analysis claims up to 150,000 people could lose their jobs, meaning 900,000 Scots in total could be furloughed or out of work, the equivalent of one-third of the total workforce.

Accommodation and food services is the sector predicted to fare the worst, with 140,000 staff furloughed and 30,000 job losses, the equivalent of 83% of the entire sector.

Retail, motor trades and wholesale are predicted to have the same number of jobs cut and staff furloughed – covering 49% of that sector.

In construction, 69% of the industry workforce will be affected, should the analysis come to fruition, with 80,000 staff taking up the Job Retention Scheme and a further 20,000 out of work.

In a document published on Tuesday, the Scottish Government laid out options for easing lockdown restrictions, which stated construction and retail are two of the sectors that could reopen early on.

The analysis also looked into the financial security of staff in the worst-affected sectors before the lockdown measures were put in place.

According to the report, 29% of those working in retail said they were “just about getting by” or worse before the pandemic hit, while 32% of construction workers and 33% of hospitality staff said the same.

Russell Gunson, the director of the IPPR, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a public health crisis but without question it is an economic crisis, too.

“The pandemic is affecting us all but some people will undoubtedly be more affected than others by the economic impact of this crisis.

“Our initial analysis shows it’s likely to be those in lower pay sectors and those already struggling with their finances that will be hardest hit by the initial economic fallout.”

Mr Gunson called on the Scottish and UK Governments to stretch their powers “to the limit” to help those being hit hardest by the pandemic.

“We must do everything we can to support families in Scotland struggling to get by, through targeted help for those that need it the most,” he said.

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