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By Jim Hancock

By Jim Hancock

Labour market turmoil

Jim looks at the turbulent employment market. Some firms are looking at laying off staff at the end of furlough, whereas others are begging chefs and lorry drivers to come and work for them.

The ending of furlough is going to be a difficult time for thousands of employees. Getting back to work after months of box sets, home schooling and DIY won’t be easy. Demotivation, loss of skills and confidence are going to cause problems.

There is set to be a big tussle between some employees and bosses who want them back in the office when infection rates are still high, although some firms seem to think they can run their companies at long range from their employees permanently. I’ll be interested in their productivity figures in a year or so.

For some the end of furlough is likely to mean the end of their job. The pandemic has given management a chance to take a long term look at their needs. The “new normal” that we are emerging into may mean big changes in customer demands.

Not that the employment market is all doom and gloom. On the contrary, if you are a lorry driver, chef, or builder you can often name your own price for wages due to shortages. Nearly every restaurant that I go by has a big board outside begging for staff. The haulage industry has been hit with a triple whammy. The pingdemic is keeping many drivers isolated. Brexit has deprived us of many EU workers and there are long delays in lorry driving testing because of the impossibility of social distancing in the cab.

There’s also hope for those made redundant after furlough. It looks as if we will have a boom not a depression after the pandemic and as firms recover, they will be looking for staff across the board.


We are told that the pandemic has made us more attached to our local neighbourhoods. We have gained a greater appreciation of where we live. Does this apply to the parliamentary constituency in which we reside?

If so, you only have until Monday to give your opinion on a big shake up in the parliamentary map of the North West that will be in place if the General Election is held from the summer of 2023 onwards.

Here are some examples of the changes in the North West. The South Lakeland constituency of Lib Dem Tim Farron is abolished as part of it links up with Morecambe.

In Lancashire Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s seat of Wyre and Preston North is split three ways, whilst Labour’s Cat Smith’s majority disappears in the boundary changes. Burnley is linked with Bacup and there is a new Pennine Moors division.

On Merseyside the Walton seat made famous by Eric Heffer and Peter Kilfoyle becomes Norris Green. The problem of Wirral having too many MPs is solved not by a previously mooted cross Mersey seat but by a complicated rearrangement of seats to its south involving alterations to Wirral South and splitting Chester.

In Greater Manchester Labour would gain Bury South and Bolton North East from the Tories whilst Manchester Gorton once the stronghold of Gerald Kaufman becomes Longsight.

If any of this bothers you check out

……but hurry.

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