UK tourism hotspots could face worst of post-lockdown job losses

Economic burden of Covid-19 likely to be spread unevenly across country, say researchers

People working in some of Britain’s most beautiful areas will be worst hit by the expected wave of unemployment following the coronavirus pandemic, according to forecasts suggesting the economic burden of Covid-19 is set to be spread unevenly.

Workers in the tourism-driven economies of the Lake District, Cornwall and the beauty spots of Yorkshire are at the highest risk of being left jobless, according to research by the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturing.

UK areas in which jobs are most at risk

People living in London, south-east England and the knowledge economies of Oxford and Cambridge are the least likely to lose their livelihoods, the study says.

With 80% of workers in the hotel and food industries on furlough schemes, alongside 68% of those in arts, entertainment and recreation, about a third of jobs are permanently at risk in the longer term in the tourism-reliant areas of Richmondshire, which covers much of the Yorkshire Dales, Eden, which covers part of the Lake District, and Cornwall and the west Devon coast.

Nearly 27,000 jobs are at risk in Pembrokeshire and the Cotswolds alone. Many of the areas facing the biggest job losses are in Conservative heartlands. Last week Visit Britain estimated that Covid-19 would cost the tourism industry around £15bn in 2020, with 22 million fewer visitors to the UK.

“Our analysis finds a stark geographical divide in terms of how Covid-19 could impact local labour markets with rural areas and coastal towns most at risk of high job losses,” said the report’s authors, Fabian Wallace-Stephens and Alan Lockey. “Many of the most vulnerable areas are located in the north and south-west of England. Cities and other urban areas tend to be at less risk, particularly in London or in its surrounding commuter belt.”

The RSA found that younger workers aged 16 to 24 were more than twice as likely to be furloughed as middle-aged workers.

A separate study, also published on Monday, says black and minority ethnic citizens will find the coming economic conditions hardest to weather because they have much less money saved to fall back on.

The Runnymede trust found that for every £1 of wealth and savings held by white British citizens, Pakistani households have about 50p, black Caribbean households about 20p and black African and Bangladeshi households approximately 10p.

There is increasing evidence that black and minority ethnic people are disproportionately represented among the victims of the coronavirus, with many Asian doctors, nurses and taxi drivers among those known to have died.

“As well as the cost in life of Covid-19, economic gaps in society are being exposed and even widened, and the effects may last for a generation, affecting ethnic minorities particularly,” said Omar Khan, the director of the Runnymede Trust.

“During this lockdown, children are being educated at home and some adults are working from home. Many are having to dip into savings, but little consideration is given to those who have no savings to fall back on are not able to work from home and have no IT equipment or not enough space to effectively school their children.”


Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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