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ONS details devastating impact of COVID-19 on jobs

Since the Coronavirus outbreak took hold 29% of UK companies have laid people off, rising to 39% in construction, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Just under half (47%) of businesses took less cash in this period, rising to 90% for accommodation and food businesses.

Only 40% of firms are confident they will keep operating throughout the crisis, with 16% being not confident.

Some 29% of firms have cut working hours, rising to 57% in accommodation and food services businesses.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “We were expecting some pretty horrible news about jobs and business activity, but it doesn’t make it less upsetting.

“Almost half of all companies have lost income, more than one in four have laid people off, and only 40% of businesses are confident there will be anything to come back to when all this is over.

“And while the overall figures are alarming, it only takes one person to have their hours cut or be laid off for it to have a profound impact on your own finances.

“If you’re still in work, it’s going to be essential to build up your savings safety net as much as you can and as soon as you can in case your circumstances change.

“If you’ve lost some of your income through being furloughed or having your hours or pay cut, you need to draw up a budget today – so you’re not building up a debt problem further down the line.

“And if you’ve lost your income entirely, try to get help as soon as you can. Check what benefits you’re entitled to, and submit a claim as soon as is feasible.”