The number of redundancies made during the first five months has reached 498,000 according to the latest figures obtained by the BBC.

More than 58,000 redundancies were planned during August, with just under 1,000 firms informing the Government of their intentions to cut 20 or more jobs.

The figure represents a four-fold increase on last year.

However, the figures for August are in fact down on June and July, offering some cause for cautious optimism as businesses throughout West Yorkshire continue to battle the effects of Coronavirus.

With workers encouraged to return to the office and families encouraged to ‘eat out to help out’ during recent summer months, there appeared to be signs of growth following a tough period in the immediate aftermath of lockdown.

But the retail and hospitality sectors are continuing to struggle, with major brands including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and WH Smith all making significant redundancies.

Senior economist Rebecca McDonald warned: “There was a sense of optimism in August, we were starting to see more spending and more activity, there were hopes for a quick recovery. That seems a lot less likely now.”

It is understood that a large number of firms had been readying themselves to cut staff before the end of the furlough scheme at the end of October.

The scheme has helped in reducing the number of redundancies caused by the pandemic, with just under 10 million jobs furloughed throughout its lifespan.

But due to the drawn-out nature of the redundancy process, many businesses will have notified the Government of their plans in August.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is hopeful his new scheme, which subsidises the pay of employees working fewer hours, will soften the impact in terms of job losses.

However, many employers will still have difficult decisions to make in the coming months and, given the design of the new scheme, it seems likely that there will be a significant number of redundancies in the winter.

And there is a concern that it will be the lowest-paid workers in the hardest-hit sectors who will be affected the most.

Cooper Accounting provides valuable support to businesses throughout West Yorkshire who are navigating the challenges of Coronavirus.

We offer a versatile suite of services that is easily scalable and adaptable in order to offer bespoke, value-for-money support to businesses and sole traders, either on an ad-hoc or regular basis.

Get in touch for an informal chat.