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Coronavirus: Over 72,000 jobs 'at risk' in Cornwall

Coronavirus: Over 72,000 jobs 'at risk' in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:17am 11th June 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A new report on the impact of coronavirus claims that as many as 72,800 jobs could be at risk in Cornwall.

The figure represents 27% of all jobs in Cornwall and is included in a report which is due to go to Cornwall Council’s Cabinet next week.

A comprehensive report on the council’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been published ahead of the meeting.

It includes reports from individual “cells” which have been established by the council to co-ordinate the response.

In the business cell details are provided on the economic impact of the pandemic.

The cell was chaired by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chairman and has representatives from Cornwall Council, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Visit Cornwall, Cornwall Business Improvement Districts (BID), the Growth Hub and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund.

In its report the cell says that “there is a significant negative impact on the local economy”.

It adds: “It is estimated that quarterly GVA is down with 34% in Cornwall and that as many as 72,800 jobs are at risk of being lost due to lockdown. This constitutes 27% of all jobs in Cornwall.

“Universal Credit numbers for March and April confirm this worrying picture with an overall increase of 61% more people on Universal Credit across Cornwall with some local areas faring significantly worse.”

A map is shown in the document which indicates that some areas have seen an increase of as much as 165% for numbers of Universal Credit claimaints.

The report goes on to state that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has also been “disproportionately impacted” due to the high proportion of self-employed – 23% of the total workforce compared to 16% nationally – and small businesses.

And the impact on tourism has also been significant and “exacerbated the negative impact”.

The report says: “The estimated loss to the tourism sector in Cornwall by the end of June is £630m, and this does not take into account the strong linkages between the visitor economy and other sectors such as food and drink and the maritime sector that are experiencing significantly reduced demand due to the lockdown of the visitor economy.”

A graphic shows the decline in individual sectors in Cornwall as a result of the lockdown.

Wholesale, retail and motors has seen losses of £596m; accomodation and food £555m; manufacturing £209m; construction £164m; education £128m; transportation and storage £122m.

Other areas include public administration £90m; other services £87m; administrative and support £81m; arts and entertainment £75m; agriculture, forestry £55m; financial and insurance £39m; information and technology £23m; real estate £8m; water and waste £4m; energy £3m and mining and quarrying £2m.

There were just two industries which saw an increase with professional and scientific going up £14m and health and social work by £243m.

The business cell  highlights that a marked difference had been made thanks to the swift implementation of grant schemes provided by the government which had seen more than £222m paid to more than 19,500 businesses.

Its report concludes: “The Business Cell will want to continue the close cooperation between partners that has been established as a response to COVID-19 as we move towards the reopening and recovery phase. The work around economic recovery is expected to be needed for months and potentially years and the business cell may need to stay in place for longer than other cells in order to coordinate this work.”

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