Virus impact

Steel joins queue for support as fears grow for 20,000 shops

British Steel

Steelworkers jobs were saved earlier this month

The steel industry has joined the queue of industries seeking secure support from the Government as falling demand leaves it once again on the brink of collapse. 

Temporary closures of car factories and many construction companies caused by the coronavirus has seen orders for steel dry up. 

Company bosses now fear a prolonged crisis could put 32,000 jobs at risk just days after British Steel was rescued by Chinese group Jingye and following months of uncertainty over its future.

The Government spent almost £300 million keeping the company afloat.

Airlines are already in talks with government amid growing concern that they cannot withstand prolonged grounding of aircraft.

20,000 shops at risk

Thousands of shops that have closed this week may never reopen, causing a massive jobs crisis.

More than 20,000 stores will be lost by the end of the year, according to the Centre for Retail Research, more than four times the 4,547 that closed in the tough trading year of 2019. 

The CRR says 235,000 jobs could be lost, against 93,000 in 2019, which was the worst year for retail for a quarter of a century. 

Next, one of the retail sector’ star performers, said is forecasting a £1 billion hit to sales.

The closure of Primark stores will cost the chain’s owner Associated British Foods £650m in lost revenue per month. 

Laura Ashley went bust last week as it failed to secure a £15m cash injection. 

Many retailers, such as John Lewis, have chosen to shut because of lower footfall and as the government’s support measures mean they can at least underpin staff wages.

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