Nearly 1,800 companies told the Government in June that they were considering making 20 or more employees redundant, according to official figures - in a stark outline of how the jobs could be affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the coming months.
As many as 139,000 jobs could be cut, which is more than five times higher than the figure announced for June last year, when 345 firms said they planned to cut 24,000 jobs, according to data obtained by the BBC in a Freedom of Information request.
Businesses legally have to let the Insolvency Service know of possibly redundancies where more than 20 jobs are to be cut in a “single establishment”.
But companies could not end up making the same number of redundancies as suggested at first. These figures will not contain information of job losses from smaller firms that could be making fewer people redundant.
The UK economy shrank by more than 20 per cent in the first half of the year due to Covid-19, and grim news has continued with further announcements of job losses seen in the past seven days.
Dixons Carphone, Pizza Express, Hays Travel and DW Sports all announced major redundancies, or plans that could put hundreds of jobs at risk.
More than 26,000 jobs were lost at British employers in July, according to analysis by the PA news agency.
The news comes as many businesses have to decide whether or not to keep staff who have been on furlough on their book, with the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme beginning to unwind from August.
The scheme is set to come to a close in October and Chancellor Rishi Sunak has resisted calls to extend it with targeted measures to stave off widespread job losses, saying the support cannot go on “indefinitely”.
The scheme that has so far cost £33.8 billion supporting the pay of 9.6 million workers. But opposition parties are calling for the Government to extend it for the hardest-hit sectors and those plunged into local lockdown, warning the end to the scheme is a “grave mistake”.