Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say the rising unemployment figures highlight the need for a plan to safely reopen the economy.
The UK unemployment rate rose to 4.8 per cent from 4.5 per cent as the Covid-19 crisis continued to hit firms.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce (pictured above), said: “This is another example of just how hard businesses across the country and, indeed, our patch have been hit by the pandemic.
“The extension of furlough will undoubtedly save jobs that would have otherwise been lost and schemes such as Kickstart will support some of younger people in getting into the workplace.
“But what we would now like to see from Government is a plan that helps firms across Coventry and Warwickshire get back to business as soon as possible.
“Of course, companies across Coventry and Warwickshire have welcomed the support on offer but that is no match for being able to do what they do best – trade.
“So, until such time that we are able to return to some sense of normality, it’s vital that the Government works with business to find a way to get as many parts of the economy open as safely as possible.
“I have no doubt this will be a topic we explore during our annual conference on Wednesday 11 November.”
British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics Suren Thiru said: “The rise in the unemployment rate and redundancies is further evidence that the damage being done to the UK jobs market by the Coronavirus pandemic is intensifying.
“While there was a rise in the number of job vacancies, this is more likely to reflect a temporary bounce as the economy reopened before recent restrictions were reintroduced, rather than a meaningful upturn in demand for labour.
“The extension to the furlough scheme will safeguard a significant number of jobs in the near term. However, with firms facing another wave of severely diminished cashflow and revenue and with gaps in government support persisting, further substantial rises in unemployment remain likely in the coming months.
“Increased grant support for businesses impacted by restrictions is urgently needed to help businesses protect jobs, particularly given the delay to the job retention bonus. Closing the remaining gaps in government support, including for some self-employed and company directors must also be a key priority.”