40% of Hounslow workforce now unemployed or on furlough
21 October, 2020 / by Matt Smith
Image above: Chiswick High Road
New data published by LB Hounslow shows that 40% of the borough’s workforce is now either unemployed or on furlough. Hounslow is projected to be one of the hardest hit London boroughs economically due to the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown, because of its previous reliance on Heathrow as a major provider of jobs.
An independent report by Oxford Economics, commissioned by Hounslow council, forecasts a hit of almost £1 billion hit to the borough’s economy due the downturn at Heathrow. The report estimates that more than 40,000 jobs could be at risk. The total projected impact on Hounslow’s economy is expected to be £2.7 billion for 2020/21.
Many of the jobs at risk are concentrated in sectors which are more likely to employ lower skilled, lower paid workers. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, as well as younger people, are expected to be disproportionately affected.
Image above: a plane from Heathrow flies over Chiswick; photograph Marianna Mahaffey
‘Ambitious’ recovery plan published
The council has published an ‘ambitious’ recovery plan which both calls on the Government for more support and looks at reorienting the local economy away from aviation.
It is calling on the Government for an ‘Aviation Communities Fund’ to support areas which were heavily reliant on airports and associated businesses.
It is also working on developing four themes – ‘renewing local economies, empowering local residents, tackling local inequalities and reimagining local places’. There is also a strong emphasis on ’empowering and connecting communities and voluntary organisations, improving engagement and representation, and fostering a borough culture of supporting local businesses and groups’.
The recovery plan was developed by the Hounslow Recovery Board, which is comprised of leading councillors and senior representatives of major local organisations and business – as well as four task forces which each looked at a subject area: economy and regeneration, social and wellbeing, community and green recovery. There was input also from a virtual conference hosted by the council in September, which was joined by more than 200 people.
The plan describes how the council intends to help the borough thrive over the coming months and years and promises ‘major interventions’.
LB Hounslow faces ‘incredibly tough times’
Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said:
“Hounslow’s facing some incredibly tough times ahead, the biggest challenge of our generation. To lead and support our residents and businesses through this, we need to do things differently, we need to come together, knockdown barriers and work with a common purpose.
“Our Recovery Plan – One Hounslow, Forward Together – builds on the fantastic community spirit we saw during the first wave of COVID-19. Its broad range of interventions to make Hounslow a fairer, greener, stronger borough embodies the spirit of collective focus and collaboration, of passion and enthusiasm for the people of Hounslow, that we will need over the coming months.
“Though the Council working together with our communities, partners and businesses can do a great deal to support and empower people, the Government needs to play its part too.
“Thousands of individuals and businesses in communities across the UK reliant on the aviation industry are facing widespread unemployment, deprivation and barriers to securing future work. These communities around airports, so impacted by the crisis, cannot be forgotten. Places like Hounslow need a targeted Aviation Communities Fund to help minimise job losses, support training to help people into new roles, enable investment in infrastructure and ensure a sustainable and green airport recovery.”
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