Revealed: The areas of the UK likely to be hardest hit by coronavirus job losses

  • Video report by ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills

Data obtained by ITV News has revealed the crippling impact coronavirus is likely to have on towns and cities across the UK.

With the full winding down of the furlough scheme by October, more than seven per cent of the UK's workforce could be unemployed by the end of the year, according to the Bank of England.

But forecasts by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation predict the potential peak unemployment rate of up to 21% in some areas across the country by the end of 2020.

And while all sectors are going to be affected, some areas will be worse hit than others. For example, seaside towns have a higher number of tourism and hospitality jobs, sectors which have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19.

The figures show how the coronavirus pandemic has not affected everyone equally, ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills explains

Low wage workers and those on insecure contracts tend to be more at risk of becoming unemployed during recessions, whatever sector they may work in. Figures show Brent, which had the highest coronavirus mortality rate in the UK with 210.9 deaths per 100,000 people, is also likely to suffer the most when it comes to unemployment.

A graphic of Great Britain showing the possible job losses hotspots in the country. Credit: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

It is estimated that there could be a potential peak in the unemployment rate of 18 per cent in the London borough. Unemployment in the area is already high, with the current number of people out of work per vacancy already currently at 63 per job available. Another London borough, Barking and Dagenham, is second on the list, with a possible unemployment rate also hitting 18% by the end of the year. The current number of people out of working per vacancy currently stands at 49. Newham features third on the list with 39 people per vacancy and a potential unemployment rate of 18%.

Blackpool, which relies heavily on tourism and the hospitality sector, is forecast to be the fourth worst-hit area and could have 21% of its population out of work by the end of the year, modelling shows. Currently there are 32 people per vacancy.

Connor Clive, 18, was let go of his job in Blackpool in March as the coronavirus lockdown was imposed across the UK.

Table showing the local authorities, the potential peak unemployment rate and current number of people out of work per vacancy in that area. Credit: Joseph Rowntree foundation

He said: "My manager called me and said 'Connor, we don't need you anymore.' And then that was about it really."

The teenager has signed up for Universal Credit, but wants to work and said the process has been "demoralising".

"I didn't want to have to do it, but I've got bills to pay, so I've gotta do it."

Connor Clive, 18, has been without work since March. Credit: ITV News

Jamie Morris, a drag artist in Blackpool, told ITV News Business and Economics Editor Joel Hills he has just enough savings to see him through until October. After that, his business face financial ruin and he'll have to look elsewhere for employment. "We borrowed enough money to see us through until October... then, I'll have to go and find another job." He added: "It's bleak... it's really bleak."

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Just 100 miles away, Wolverhampton has been trying to reverse years of industrial decline. Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate was almost twice the national average. Laura Plants, who lives in the city, said some weeks she's had as little as £7 a week to live on.

"You buy tins or beans, you buy bags of pasta, you buy 20 sausages for £1 and anything that comes in a yellow sticker at the end of the week." She added: "You don't eat well. You eat bread, your children eat real food and you have a bowl of cereal. That's how you survive on it. It's hard, but people do it. Other people do it."

  • Laura Plants fights back tears as she describes living off £7 a week during lockdown

Prior to the lockdown, one in 15 adults was out of work in Wolverhampton before the crisis began. That could rise to one in five before the end of the year as the job retention scheme is phased out. Haringey, one of seven London borough which make the list, has 72 people per vacancy, making it the area with the highest amount of people out of work per vacancy. Ifeyinwa and Emeka Frederick reopened their Nigerian restaurant in the north London borough last Friday, months after closing their doors for lockdown. "The financial impact is actually less about when you closed," Ifeyinwa said. "It's more about whats going to happen when you open because your costs will go back up to the full whack, but will the demand and your income go back?"

Emeka said they have reduced their opening hours following their reopening. Asked if they can still make money, he replied: "We'll find out".

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Ealing, Waltham Forest and Enfield make up the other London boroughs on the list of local authorities most at risk of high unemployment. Outside of London, Sandwell in the west Midlands, South Tyneside, Pendle and Thanet are all at risk of unemployment reaching between 17% to 18%. In the north, Oldham, Bradford, Rochdale, Bolton, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are all on the top 25. North Ayrshire in Scotland caps off the list, and is the only area outside of England which makes the list of most vulnerable areas susceptible to job losses.

Dave Innes, Head of Economics, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: "What the Government should do is support people's incomes while they are not able to work because of Covid-19. "But that's only part of the solution and if we don't look to the next phase and get a good plan in place to create good quality jobs in the next few months, which people can move into, we're only ever going to be supporting people's incomes, we're not going to be looking towards recovery."