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One-in-three jobs in parts of Britain at risk due to Covid-19, local data reveals

Press Release

Up to 35% of jobs in parts of Britain are at risk due to Covid-19, a thinktank warns, calling for a new 'social contract' to avoid widespread economic insecurity.

Fresh analysis from the RSA, based on the latest furloughing data from the ONS published last Thursday and the jobs profile for each local authority, gives a new, up-to-date, robust and localised insight into which areas of Great Britain are set to be most and least affected. [See Methodology for further details.]

Richmondshire in North Yorkshire – which contains Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s constituency – tops the list of areas set to be most affected, with 35% of jobs vulnerable owing to its large hospitality and tourism sectors. 

Eden in the Lake District and East Lindsey in Lincolnshire follow. Coastal and rural areas dominate the top 20 and many affluent areas, such as the Cotswolds, feature in the list too.

 

TOP TWENTY: AREAS MOST AT RISK

Local authority 

Total number of jobs at risk 

Percent of jobs at risk 

Region 

Richmondshire 

5,965 

35% 

Yorkshire and the Humber 

Eden 

7,989 

34% 

North West 

East Lindsey 

14,509 

34% 

East Midlands 

South Lakeland 

17,424 

33% 

North West 

Derbyshire Dales 

10,350 

33% 

East Midlands 

Scarborough 

14,458 

33% 

Yorkshire and the Humber 

West Devon 

5,226 

32% 

South West  

Ryedale 

7,699 

32% 

Yorkshire and the Humber 

Argyll and Bute 

10,074 

32% 

Scotland 

Cornwall 

66,878 

31% 

South West  

Pembrokeshire 

13,313 

31% 

Wales 

Cotswold 

13,526 

31% 

South West 

South Hams 

11,436 

31% 

South West 

North Norfolk 

10,063 

31% 

East of England 

East Devon 

14,716 

31% 

South West 

Isle of Wight 

15,423 

31% 

South East 

Conwy 

12,907 

31% 

Wales 

Staffordshire Moorlands 

8,733 

30% 

West Midlands 

Torbay 

13,856 

30% 

South West  

Torridge 

5,676 

30% 

South West 


Areas with the highest proportion of jobs in the knowledge economy are least at risk. These are heavily concentrated in Oxbridge, London, and the capital's commuter belt.

But even in these areas, around one-in-five jobs is rated ‘high-risk’ based on the furloughing data. 

 

BOTTOM 20: AREAS LEAST AT RISK

Local authority 

Total number of jobs at risk 

Percent of jobs at risk 

Region  

Oxford 

22,243 

19% 

South East  

Cambridge 

21,077 

20% 

East of England 

Welwyn Hatfield 

18,434 

21% 

East of England 

Bracknell Forest 

12,422 

21% 

South East  

Wokingham 

17,653 

21% 

South East  

Reading 

20,831 

21% 

South East  

City of London 

71,761 

21% 

London 

South Cambridgeshire 

17,654 

21% 

East of England 

Tower Hamlets 

48,605 

22% 

London 

Vale of White Horse 

13,477 

22% 

South East  

Coventry 

33,471 

22% 

West Midlands 

Southwark 

49,699 

22% 

London 

Worthing 

9,820 

22% 

South East  

Stevenage 

9,755 

22% 

South East  

Slough 

18,597 

22% 

South East  

Epsom and Ewell 

6,488 

22% 

South East  

Worcester 

11,606 

22% 

West Midlands 

Camden 

79,862 

23% 

London 

Exeter 

18,895 

23% 

South West 

Rushmoor 

10,783 

23% 

South East  

To tackle this, the RSA calls for a new ‘social contract’ – the agreement of rights and responsibilities between the state, employers and employees – with a focus on universal economic security and reskilling.

In particular, the RSA reiterates its call for a shift to a Universal Basic Income, with an initial payment of £48 per adult per week, funded largely by turning the personal allowance into a payment. RSA modelling for the Scottish Government’s planned basic income pilots found this would be fiscally progressive, affordable, and would halt destitution overnight. The RSA also set out how this could become a 'full' basic income in future years.

The RSA also calls for personal learning accounts to give workers individual budgets to retrain, especially if Covid-19 brings the age of automation in even more quickly than expected.

A major report from the RSA Future Work Centre, outlining these and other policies for a new social contract in more detail will be published in May. 

  

Alan Lockey, head of the RSA Future Work Centre, said: 

“No part of the country is likely to be spared a severe recession, but those most dependent on hospitality and tourism will be particularly badly hit, especially rural areas, including many Tory shires.

“The government’s response so far has been robust, but it must avoid going back to ‘business as usual’ – including Universal Credit, sanctions and means-testing – if it’s to avoid the devastating impact of prolonged unemployment on whole swathes of the population.

“Covid-19 only highlights the need for a welfare state which addresses the economic insecurity felt by growing numbers of people in the UK."

ends 

 

Contact:  

The RSA's data is available for reuse/data visualisation with credit. For the full dataset, policy briefing or any more information, contact: Ash Singleton, ash.singleton@rsa.org.uk, 07799 737 970.   

For a live or pre-record interview, contact: Alan Lockey, head of the RSA Future Work Centre, alan.lockey@rsa.org.uk, 07590 619 518. 

 

Methodology: 

Wave 2 of the ONS Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey (BICS) contains data on the furloughing of workers across UK businesses between March 23 to April 5, 2020. This data includes responses from businesses that were either still trading or had temporarily paused trading.  

The RSA mapped this data against the industrial composition of different local authority districts to estimate which are most exposed to labour market risks associated with the Covid-19. The data on the industrial composition of local authorities comes from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) 2018, which is publicly accessible via NOMIS.   

This approach calculates the total number of jobs at risk in each local area by identifying the number of jobs in each industry in that area multiplied by the estimated percentage of those that have been furloughed on the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The RSA then divide this by the total number of jobs in each local area to calculate the percentage of jobs at risk.  

The CRJS was set up by the Government specifically to prevent growing unemployment and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has described furloughed workers as technically unemployed. It therefore looks to be the best available data with which to calculate medium-term employment risk as a result of Covid-19.  

 

Notes:  

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is an independent charity which believes in a world where everyone is able to participate in creating a better future.      

Through our ideas, research and a 30,000 strong Fellowship, we are a global community of proactive problem solvers, sharing powerful ideas, carrying out cutting-edge research and building networks. We create opportunities for people to collaborate, influence, and demonstrate practical solutions to realise change.     

Our work covers a number of areas including the rise of the 'gig economy', robotics & automation; education & creative learning; and reforming public services to put communities in control. 

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