Retail and food sectors on furlough life support as more job cuts loom

Linda J. Dodson

Each month families are saving hundreds of pounds because they cannot get to shops and restaurants or spend on holidays, depriving those businesses and their workers of funds. 

Usually, a household would spend an average of £182 per week on travel, holidays and meals out, the Office for National Statistics said – activities that are generally not now possible.

This is more than one-fifth of their usual budget. If they cannot spend it as normal, they can either save the cash or spend it in other areas, such as covering lost income or paying down debts.

It is beneficial for family finances, but the knock-on effect on workers is mounting.

Manufacturers are next with more than 830,000 on furlough, according to HMRC, followed by almost 680,000 workers in the construction trade.

The aim of the scheme is to help companies keep staff through the crisis, but it is becoming clear not all roles can be saved.

Wave of job cuts

Energy supplier Centrica has axed more than 5,000 jobs, as Liberty Steel, Johnson Matthey, and Heathrow Airport also line up thousands more redundancies in a bid to stem heavy losses triggered by Covid-19.

More than 50pc of the cuts at Centrica will come at management level, as the company seeks to simplify its structure amid market turmoil that has seen the supplier drop from the FTSE 100.

A spokesman for the company said: “The aim is that we arrest the decline we have been facing and stabilise the group.”

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