Hospitality takes biggest hit as job losses rise

Jobcentre staff across Merseyside are now stepping up their efforts to help people find jobs and training as redundancies rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tony McDonough reports

kitchen, chef, hospitality, restaurant
The UK hospitality sector has seen the biggest number of job losses due to COVID-19


Larger Jobcentres across Liverpool city region are no opening on Saturdays as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic sees more people out of work.

Jobcentre staff across Merseyside are now stepping up their efforts to help people find jobs and training. Official data on Tuesday revealed that in the three months to October the number of people out of work rose by 819,000 to 1.7m, a rate of 4.9%.

Hardest hit by the pandemic has been the hospitality industry and in the same period there were almost 300,000 redundancies in that sector alone. Retail and manufacturing were also hit hard. Only public administration and health and social work saw a rise in employment.

Latest data for the Liverpool city region shows that as of November 12, there were 172,413 people in Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Halton, in receipt of Universal Credit – a rise of 2.6% from 168,005 in October.

Liverpool saw the biggest percentage rise in UC claimants, up 3.5% to 60,126; followed by Knowsley, up 3% to 19,209; Sefton, up 2.9% to 27,080; Wirral, up 1.7% to 31,194; Halton, up 1.6% to 16,562; and St Helens, up 1,6% to 18,242.

Across the North West there were an additional 35,000 out of work in the three months to October. Jobcentres in Merseyside are now offering a range of assistance for job-seekers under the Government’s Plan for Jobs. This includes:

  • A new ‘Job Finding Support’ contract will help people right at the start of their claim to benefits and people who have not found work within three months can access JETs – Job Entry Targeted Support.
  • Since the start of December larger Jobcentres in Liverpool city region are now open on a Saturday. Due to COVID-19, the majority of support is still being offered virtually, by phone and journal. However, Jobcentre doors are open six days per week for people who are vulnerable and need face-to-face support.
  • Support for young people continues to grow with five of our Youth Hubs being open from January and hundreds of Kickstart vacancies being approved.

Gemma Batchelor, senior relationship manager at Jobcentre Plus in Merseyside, told LBN that the number of job vacancies it is supporting “remains high”. Staff have supported recruitments for the Covid Testing Centres, HR-Go contact Centre and a number of distribution centres.

The teams has also put together a number of vocational training packages which will provide upskilling and certification in response to employer skills gaps in construction, telecoms and the rail industry which will be delivered from January.

“We continue to see increases in the number of people claiming Universal Credit as the impact of the pandemic continues,” she added. “The support we are able to offer within Jobcentre Plus continues to grow and we urge people to make the most of our new provision such as Job Finding Support and JETs.

“There is real hope for young people as hundreds of Kickstart vacancies have been approved in the region and our Youth Hubs are opening to offer support for those who need it. Vacancy numbers remain strong and we have vocational training available for people who would like to transition into a new sector.”

For more information on current job vacancies click here. If you are an employer looking for assistance to fill vacancies click here. You can follow Jobcentre Plus Merseyside on Twitter @JCPinMerseyside

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