The pandemic has had a huge impact on the labour market…
The effect of the pandemic
- At the peak, one in four (25%) employments in the borough were furloughed in July 2020,26 and at the time of writing, the latest available data showed that 8% of employments in the borough were furloughed in July 2021.
- The unemployment rate increased from 4.3%, in April 2019–March 2020 to 5.5% in the same period in 2020–2021, broadly in line with the rise across the country.
- In February 2021, more than 1 in 10 (12.4%) working-age Kensington and Chelsea residents were claiming out-of-work benefits, an increase of more than 50% since February 2020; adding 4,505 new out-of-work benefit claimants.
- The economic impacts of the pandemic have not been confined to those who have lost their jobs or been furloughed, as the borough saw the number of residents claiming in-work benefits almost treble, from 1,075 people in February 2020 to 3,070 people in February 2021.
Employee in a local charity working with young people
…which has intensified employment inequalities.
- The increase in claimants of unemployment benefits (Universal Credit/ Jobseeker’s Allowance) in the most deprived neighbourhoods (8% of working-age population) was nearly five times higher than in the least deprived (1.7% of workingage population).
- Geographically, this uneven impact of the pandemic has meant that areas in the North of the borough have been hardest hit, with increases in the rate of unemployment-related benefits as a high as 10.6 percentage points.
“When you work on a zero-hour contract and you get sick with Covid, like I did…there is no help coming. I am in so much debt, I can’t pay my bills, I can’t afford to pay rent…”
Participant in research coordinated by Midaye Somali Development Network