Jobs will be lost and business will close unless people return to city centres, Minister warns

6 August 2020, 13:35 | Updated: 6 August 2020, 13:46

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A Government Minister has warned that unless people return to city centres and use businesses then there will be closures and job losses.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has urged people to "get out" and support local businesses in the cities to prevent further job losses.

Tom asked Mr Jenrick about an article in the Sun newspaper which referenced "dismal, shameful example Whitehall civil servants set for the rest of Britain" by not returning to the office.

The comment piece in the newspaper said that "between 70 and 83 per cent of workers surveyed in France, Italy, Spain and Germany are back at their offices."

But it added "in the UK it’s just 34 per cent"

Tom Swarbrick asked the Minister whether he is concerned that London is being "hollowed out", he said: "Well I am very concerned about London and city centres more generally.

"You are seeing people starting to go back into town centres and obviously using local shops in villages and rural areas, but many of our city centres are very quiet and we need to get back into them."

He said the public "need to get back into them."

Mr Jenrick urged the public to use the Chancellor's Eat Out To Help Out Scheme, and visit shops.

He said: "Chancellor's Eat Out To Help Out scheme, going to visit the shops safely, it can be done."

The Minister said that shops and the hospitality industry were going to "great lengths" to ensure customer safety.

"Those of us who can do so need to get out and support them now."

But the Minister had a stark warning that if customers do not start to use the high street more then there could be further job losses and even the closure of some businesses.

He told LBC unless the public start using businesses again there could be "further job losses and a loss of some of those fantastic businesses that we see in our cities."

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The warning comes on the day Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the UK faces an unemployment crisis "on a scale not seen for generations".

Official figures show this week alone more than 6,000 British jobs have been been lost or put at risk.

WHSmith, Arsenal and the fashion chain M & Co are the latest to announce cuts.