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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire furlough figures paint 'increasingly scary' picture

Furlough numbers in Gloucestershire are "increasingly scary" according to a senior figure at Business West.

And Gloucestershire director Ian Mean believes the closure of the Government's Job Retention Scheme will spark an alarming rise in job losses.

Figures collated by GFirst LEP show 93,400 people were furloughed as the scheme began to be wound down at the end of July - up from 89,000 the previous month.

Mr Mean said: "The harsh reality of coronavirus on the Gloucestershire economy is revealed in the latest figures which are becoming increasingly scary.

"I don't think people realise how serious they are.

"I am told nearly half of those furloughed could well face redundancy."

Almost one quarter of the rise in July came in the Stroud district with 1,000 extra furloughed workers taking the total to 16,900.

The figure in Gloucester was 20,300, with 17,900 in Cheltenham, 13, 400 in the Cotswolds, 13,100 in Tewkesbury and 11,900 in the Forest of Dean.

"What we do not know is what work sectors these employees are in," said Mr Mean "My guess is that the majority will be in the hospitality sector - hotels, pubs, cafes, restaurants and their suppliers.

"This really is crunch time with the indication of large job losses when furlough closes at the end of October.

"We must all work hard with more government support to stem these imminent job losses."

He said young people seeking an apprenticeship are facing a hard time.

"Sarah-Jane Watkins, principal of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, says they are now expecting only half of the 500 apprentices due to start in September," he said.

"Many firms simply cannot afford new apprentices and the Government's £2,000 support for each of them is just not enough.

"I commend Gloucester MP Richard Graham who has recruited all the county's MPs and two government ministers to discuss the apprentice challenge at an event on September 11."

The Gloucestershire Jobs, Skills and Apprenticeships Lift Off takes place at Kingsholm.

Punchline-Gloucester.com is backing the event which is being supported by the likes of Gloucestershire College, University of Gloucestershire, Western Power Distribution, EDF Energy, Jobcentre Plus, Gloucestershire County Council, GFirst LEP, Spirax Sarco and Glos Jobs.

All of Gloucestershire's MPs have promised to attend along with apprenticeships minister Gillian Keehan while employment minister Mims Davies will be attending the event virtually.

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