Niamh Corcoran, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said:
“Figures released today offer a mixed picture of the North East’s labour market. The figures do show signs that the Government’s furlough scheme is effectively limiting job losses and stabilising the labour market. However, the statistics continue to expose the regional disparities in the pandemic’s economic impact, with the regional unemployment rate standing at 6.5%, significantly higher than the UK’s rate of 5.1%.
“The announcement of the roadmap out of lockdown restrictions yesterday offered much needed clarity for individuals in England. What was lacking, however, was guidance specifically for businesses around how they will be supported as we emerge from restrictions.
“In the Budget next week, the Chancellor must extend the furlough scheme according to the roadmap. Other forms of business support should also be made available to firms and sectors in line with the timeline laid out by the Prime Minister.
Today’s national statistics show that three-fifths of the fall in employees since the beginning of the pandemic were under 25. Clearly, young people are bearing the brunt of this crisis. In the Budget, the Government must deliver on its promises to protect young people and outline enhanced support for the under 25s, including an extension to the Kickstart scheme beyond December.