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The head of a regional super-council has today claimed further redundancies are expected at some of West Yorkshireâs employers after the governmentâs furlough scheme ends.
Leader of Bradford Council Susan Hinchcliffe told a meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) that, although the toll Covid-19 took hundreds of lives in the region, there is a chance it could plunge many more into poverty through joblessness.
A report also estimates West Yorkshireâs economy could shrink by between Â£5bn and Â£12bn in 2020.
The governmentâs job retention scheme means employers that are inactive or only partially running during the lockdown are able to claim a percentage of their staffâs wages, so long as they are furloughed.
However, this scheme ends in the Autumn, meaning many firms will be left with the daunting proposition of either taking staff back on or making them redundant.
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Coun Hinchcliffe, who is also leader of Bradford Council, warned a meeting of WYCA that the anticipated economic shock caused by the lockdown could mean redundancies.
âEverybody in this meeting has been active in their local authorities with their own pandemic,â she said, âWe have had 500 people (in Bradford) die from Covid, and that is a major tragedy.
âBut there is also the economic shock. We are anticipating, as furlough comes to an end, there will be even more people made redundant, and that is a massive concern for us.
âWe need to support businesses to keep going, and we need an economy that works for everybody.â
The meeting heard that, in West Yorkshire alone, there were an estimated 344,000 people currently on furlough, while another 60,000 jobs in the region are thought to be âimmediatelyâ at risk once the furlough scheme winds down.
A report seen by WYCA members claimed that, even in a rapid recovery, West Yorkshireâs economy will shrink by Â£5bn in 2020, but this could be as much as Â£12bn, which would shrink the economy by almost a third.
It added: âBeyond the direct cost to West Yorkshire,the modelling suggests that this economic damage will result in a cost to the Exchequer of up to Â£2.4bn in 2020 alone. This modelling has been used to underpin our plans for recovery.
âIt is therefore critical that we have a regional plan for recovery, that supports what is already taking place to support the immediate response and begins to develop what might be required in recovery.â
World news – GB – Covid-19 could hit West Yorkshire economy by Â£12bn