Commenting on the ONS labour market figures for August 2020, published this week, BCC Head of Economics Suren Thiru said:
“While the headline data continues to lag behind the reality on the ground, the decline in the number of employees on payrolls and hours worked is further evidence of the damage being done to the UK labour market by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The furlough scheme has been successful in preserving millions of jobs. However, with firms continuing to face a perfect storm of increased costs, reduced demand, and diminished cash reserves, unemployment is likely to surge as the government support schemes wind down, unless action is taken.
“A significant spike in job losses would be a major drag on any recovery, stifling consumer spending and reducing the productive capacity of the UK economy.
“To help businesses recruit and retain staff, more needs to be done to reduce the overall cost of employment and prevent substantial redundancies. This could include significant expansion of the Employment Allowance and a cut in employer National Insurance Contributions.”