Tate art galleries axe 300 staff from shops and cafes while Natwest...

Tate art galleries axe 300 staff from shops and cafes while Natwest cuts 500 roles

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Hundreds of job cuts have been announced at Tate galleries and Natwest today after Rishi Sunak warned of an employment crisis on the first official day of recession.

More than 300 shop and cafe workers at four Tate galleries are set to be made redundant and 500 roles at the banking giant are also set to go as the Covid jobs catastrophe continued.

It comes as figures today showed UK GDP shrank by a shocking 20.4 per cent in the three months to June, the biggest fall in modern history, with record reductions in construction, services and production. 

It means the country is officially in recession – defined as two consecutive negative quarters – for the first time since the credit crunch.  The economy dipped 2.2 per cent in the first three months of the year, and is now smaller than it has been since 2003. 

The hit – thought to be the worst recession in 100 years – is harder than in every other major economy except Spain. And it emerged today that the Chancellor is considering delaying his crucial Autumn Budget if fears over a second wave of the deadly disease materialise. 

Yesterday staff at Tate galleries in London, Liverpool and St Ives were emailed about 313 redundancies which could be made – over 100 more than had been recently anticipated. 

Staff received an email from director Maria Balshaw and chief operating officer Vicky Cheetham announcing the the ‘difficult and painful decision,’ The Guardian claims.  

Speaking on Sunday to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Ms Balshaw said: ‘We don’t want to lose any staff, but we know we have to, otherwise the business won’t be able to trade.’

High street lender Natwest is set to reduce its headcount by around 550 as it slashes jobs at its branches and those of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

More than 300 jobs are set to go at various Tate galleries in London, Liverpool and St Ives after shutting for more than four months during the Covid-19 lockdown

More than 300 jobs are set to go at various Tate galleries in London, Liverpool and St Ives after shutting for more than four months during the Covid-19 lockdown

Natwest said it was asking staff who want to take voluntary redundancy to come forward, and promised not to force anyone out of the company

Natwest said it was asking staff who want to take voluntary redundancy to come forward, and promised not to force anyone out of the company

The Office for National Statistics said the UK had been harder hit in the first half of the year than many other economies

The Office for National Statistics said the UK had been harder hit in the first half of the year than many other economies

A spokesperson from the bank said that it was asking for staff who want to take voluntary redundancy to come forward, and promised not to force anyone out of the company.

It said it is looking to shed 550 full-time equivalent roles.

The bank is also set to close its Regents House office in London, which has enough space for 2,500 people.

A NatWest spokesperson said: ‘We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services.

‘We have taken the decision to invite applications for voluntary redundancy and will support those colleagues who apply with a comprehensive support package.

‘There will be no compulsory redundancy as a result of this announcement’  

Last month MPs voiced concerns over plans to close Tate Enterprises, which is responsible for galleries’ shops and cafes, operations down entirely at the St Ives.

A motion read: ‘Tate is one of the few large employers in a town already disproportionately hit by the Covid-19 outbreak and tourist restrictions.’

Demonstrators gathered outside Tate Modern on July 27 to protest 200 job cuts that were forecast at the time, amid concerns it would mainly impact workers from a BAME or working class background.  

Demonstrators gathered outside Tate Modern on July 27 to protest 200 job cuts that were forecast at the time, further protests are set to go ahead later this month

Demonstrators gathered outside Tate Modern on July 27 to protest 200 job cuts that were forecast at the time, further protests are set to go ahead later this month 

Mail analysis shows the sheer scale of job losses at each company across the UK's high streets

Mail analysis shows the sheer scale of job losses at each company across the UK’s high streets

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has described the cuts as unnecessary and is organising a series of strikes in protest.

Hamish Anderson and Carmel Allen, directors of Tate Enterprises, said in a statement: ‘Tate Enterprises has had to make the difficult decision that many businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors now face, to restructure its business because of the impact of the pandemic.

‘We have been supported by Tate Gallery with an allocation of £5 million from their reserves. However, this funding cannot meet the gap in income due to heavily reduced visitor numbers in the galleries.

‘We have worked hard and exhaustively to model as optimistically as we can for the future and to keep as many jobs as possible.

‘We regret that, following collective consultation, we will have to make 313 redundancies in Tate Enterprises Ltd.

‘The selection process across these roles will take place over the coming weeks.

‘It is with great sadness that we have been forced by the current circumstances to have to make these decisions.

‘We recognise how difficult this must be for our colleagues and aim to be as supportive as we can while still ensuring the future of the business.’

Yesterday Debenhams announced it was cutting 2,500 jobs across its stores and warehouses.

The department store is scrapping the roles of sales manager, visual merchandise manager and selling support manager as part of a management restructuring process.

Last week it was revealed at least 135,000 Brits were facing the axe as companies struggled to cope with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.  

However, there was a glimmer of hope with the single month GDP figure for June bouncing back by 8.7 per cent as lockdown restrictions eased.

The Chancellor said the tumble showed that ‘hard times are here’ and warned many more jobs will be lost – urging people to get back to offices and help revive the economy.

‘I’ve said before that hard times were ahead, and today’s figures confirm that hard times are here,’ he said. 

‘Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will.

‘But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this, and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.’ 

Boris Johnson has already warned that the country is in for a ‘bumpy’ ride, but insisted the government is ready to make ‘colossal’ investments in the future. 

Official figures showed UK plc shrank by 20.4 per cent in the three months to June

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the tumble showed that 'hard times are here' and warned many more jobs will be lost

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the tumble showed that ‘hard times are here’ and warned many more jobs will be lost

Monthly GDP figures produced by the ONS show that the economy has bounced back to an extent since April. Percentages cannot be added up to give overall change during the period

Monthly GDP figures produced by the ONS show that the economy has bounced back to an extent since April. Percentages cannot be added up to give overall change during the period

The quarterly output of the economy was down by more than £100billion as a result of the coronavirus shock. Figures are in pounds at 2016 value

The quarterly output of the economy was down by more than £100billion as a result of the coronavirus shock. Figures are in pounds at 2016 value  

Rishi Sunak ‘considers delaying Budget’ if coronavirus outbreak spikes again  

Rishi Sunak is considering delaying his crucial Budget this Autumn if there is a second wave of coronavirus, it was claimed today.

The Chancellor is believed to be ready to shelve the financial package – billed as the defining moment of the government – if the situation escalates again.

The contingency planning underlines the anxiety in government about the recent rise in cases across Europe.

One ally of Mr Sunak told the Financial Times: ‘While it’s very likely to happen, there is an element of uncertainty. 

‘If we have a series of local lockdowns and a second spike, it’s not clear that would be the right time for a Budget.’ 

A delay would likely be until the spring of next year, and Mr Sunak could instead choose to deliver a ‘mini-spending review’ before Christmas to update departmental budgets.

Office for National Statistics spokesman Jonathan Athow said: ‘The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record.

‘The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover. Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.

‘Overall, productivity saw its largest fall in the second quarter since the three-day week. Hospitality was worst hit, with productivity in that industry falling by three quarters in recent months.’  

The plummet is roughly in line with the Bank of England’s predictions, but underline that the UK is facing one of the biggest hits among major economies. 

Only Spain has fared worse than the UK’s overall 22.1 per cent reduction in GDP over the first six months of the year. 

Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics said: ‘The UK economy has underperformed its peers to an extraordinary degree.’

‘The underperformance can be attributed partly to the economy’s greater reliance on consumer services spending and the high level of labour market participation by working parents, many of whom have left work to look after children,’ he added.

The grim picture emerged after figures yesterday showed that the number of people on company payrolls had fallen by 730,000 since lockdown –  with employment seeing the biggest drop in a decade. 

In the three months to June, the number in work decreased by 220,000 – the largest quarterly fall since 2009. Total hours worked slumped by a fifth over the quarter to the lowest level since 1994.

Meanwhile, the numbers on payroll tumbled another 114,000 in July, as the claimant count – which includes some people who are in work – increased again to reach 2.7million. 

However, analysts warned the grim news is the tip of the iceberg, as the full effects of lockdown have so far been masked by the government’s massive support schemes. 

Some 9.6million jobs have been furloughed, with the Treasury paying out £33.8billion in subsidies. 

Many people appear to have chosen to stay economically ‘inactive’ rather than hunt for work – meaning they remain outside the headline unemployment figures.

Mr Sunak said the ‘outsized’ impact on the UK economy was down to the importance of ‘social activities’.

‘The primary explanation is the composition of our economy. Social activities — for example going out for meal, or going to the cinema, shopping, those kind of things — comprise a much bigger part of our economy than other European countries,’ he said. 

‘So in a situation where you literally shut down all those industries for three months it will unfortunately have an outsize impact on our economy.’ 

The Chancellor warned it was ‘not sustainable’ to have ‘vast swathes’ of the economy closed. 

He said: ‘It’s not a sustainable situation to have vast swathes of our economy essentially shut down.

‘And that’s why we have been able to successfully reopen bits, and do it in a safe way.

‘And as people get back to going shopping, or going out for a meal, or indeed getting back to their office, they will see that it’s a new normal, it’s a safe normal.’ 

The Chancellor is believed to be ready to shelve the financial package – billed as the defining moment of the government – if the situation escalates again.

Mr Sunak did not dismiss the idea of rescheduling, but insisted the Treasury was ‘very much working towards the goal’ of having the Budget as expected. 

The contingency planning underlines the anxiety in government about the recent rise in cases across Europe. 

A delay would likely be until the spring of next year, and Mr Sunak could instead choose to deliver a ‘mini-spending review’ before Christmas to update departmental budgets.

One ally of Mr Sunak told the Financial Times: ‘While it’s very likely to happen, there is an element of uncertainty. 

‘If we have a series of local lockdowns and a second spike, it’s not clear that would be the right time for a Budget.’ 

Speaking to Sky News today, the Chancellor said: ‘We’ve said that we plan to have a fiscal event in the autumn and we’re very much working towards that goal.’ 

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: ‘We’ve already got the worst excess death rate in Europe – now we’re on course for the worst recession too. That’s a tragedy for the British people and it’s happened on Boris Johnson’s watch.

‘The Prime Minister will say there’s only so much he could do during a global pandemic, but that doesn’t explain why our economy is tanking so badly compared to other countries.

‘It was his government that snatched away wage support for businesses that hadn’t even reopened yet. And his government that failed to get test, trace and isolate working despite claiming it’s a ‘world-beating’ system.’

The Bank of England’s latest forecast says the economy will shrink by 9.5 per cent this year, making it the worst downturn in a century, and unemployment will rise by a million. 

Construction was the hardest hit area of the economy in the second quarter of the year

Construction was the hardest hit area of the economy in the second quarter of the year

GDP figures show UK has entered a technical recession - with two consecutive quarters of contraction. The Bank of England predicts that the downturn will be the worst in a hundred years (chart pictured)

GDP figures show UK has entered a technical recession – with two consecutive quarters of contraction. The Bank of England predicts that the downturn will be the worst in a hundred years (chart pictured)



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