Coronavirus: More than 100,000 jobs could be lost in Coventry, says research

Research by the CWLEP Growth Hub shows that the lockdown and resulting downturn could result in a loss of 23 per cent of total employment in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Manufacturing, wholesale and retail are among the sectors most severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic in Coventry and Warwickshire, according to new research.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub has launched a weekly initiative called SmartRegion to provide local and central government with an impartial up-to-date view of the region and local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Research carried out from 28 April to 4 May has been gathered from the CWLEP Growth Hub’s business engagements and survey data as well as information provided by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses.

The results will help form a co-ordinated recovery plan led by the CWLEP, business organisations and local authorities steered by the recently-issued Government guidance.  

The research shows the lockdown and resulting downturn could result in 106,939 people losing their jobs in Coventry and Warwickshire which is around 23 per cent of total employment in the area.

The most affected sectors would be the wholesale and retail trade (34,748 jobs could be lost) alongside the accommodation and food service sector (21,028) and manufacturing (13,860).

Coventry and Warwickshire’s tourism sector could see a reduction of 11,016 jobs, which would be around 33.3% of the total jobs within the industry across the region. 

Coventry and Stratford-on-Avon contribute the most to the area’s total tourism Gross Value Added (GVA) with Coventry having a stronger presence in organising conventions and trade shows, and passenger transport while Stratford-on-Avon’s strength is in recreational industries including performing arts and sports facilities, and accommodation.

Stratford-on-Avon is expected to see the largest overall GVA decline of 46.2% followed by North Warwickshire (-45%), Rugby (- 44.9%), Nuneaton & Bedworth (-35.5%), Coventry (-36.7%) and Warwick (-34.1%).

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced this week an extension of the furlough scheme until October, meaning employees will receive 80 per cent of their salary up to £2,500 from the Government until the end of July before companies are asked to “start sharing” the costs of the scheme.

Nick Abell, interim chair of the CWLEP, said the area’s well-established partnerships and joined-up approach would be vital in helping Coventry and Warwickshire on the road to the economic recovery set out by the Government.

He said: “The figures highlighted from the research in Coventry and Warwickshire are going to be replicated in every corner of the UK.

“By having a united approach with the Growth Hub, the Chamber of Commerce, the FSB and local authorities which we have built over the last nine years, we will have a much better chance of being able to provide businesses with the platform to start their recovery.

“We will also have the opportunity to build on the business benefits of Coventry hosting the UK City of Culture next year and the events we are staging as part of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022.

“We now have a road map from the Government to start to rebuild the economy and every business has the opportunity to reinvent themselves.

“The working partnerships which the CWLEP has led will help our resilient business community bounce back from the damaging effects of COVID-19 as we set the direction for our recovery.”

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, said the data highlighted that cashflow is at a critical stage in the manufacturing, retail and wholesale sectors. 

“he information that we are collating along with our colleagues at Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council, the Chamber and the FSB will help the decision-makers at local and central Government,” he said.

“Wholesale and retail trade employ the highest amount of people across the region and manufacturing is also going to be hit hard since it is the second-largest employment sector in the region.

“Many companies have adapted their business models to cope with the challenges but much of this is a short-term fix, and two-thirds of businesses will not retain the changes after lockdown ends.

“We have guidance from the Government to take the first tentative steps towards re-building and we will be a guiding force with all the advice and information we have to pass on to employers and employees in Coventry and Warwickshire to help with their survival.”