Bishop's Stortford's Citizens Advice service reveals coronavirus toll on jobs
Figures from Citizens Advice show that unemployment in Bishop's Stortford has quadrupled during the coronavirus lockdown.
There has been a 402% rise in the number of jobless people – up from 260 to 1,045 – in just three months.
The toll across the town varies, but each of the five electoral wards has been hard hit by job losses.
South ward is worst affected, with a 414% increase in the number of claimants, up from 35 to 180 – or 3.3% of the working-age population aged 16 to 64.
It is a similar story in Silverleys, where 20 people were claiming in March. By May this figure had swelled to 100 – up 400% (2.8% of the working-age population).
In All Saints ward, 65 claimants became 260, up 300% to 4.6% of the workforce, while in Central 355 were unemployed in May, up from 90 in March, which is a 294% rise and 4.9% of the total.
Meads ward was least affected but still suffered a 240% increase from 50 to 170, or 4.1%.
In East Herts, only Hertford Rural South was worst affected than Stortford South with a 500% rise – from 10 to 60 people.
In Sawbridgeworth, claimants increased 233% from 75 to 250. They represent 4.6% of the working population in a district where the average is 4.3%.
From the start of lockdown to the end of June, Citizens Advice East Herts has helped 2,396 people – 36% more than the same period last year – with advice on a range of issues. Employment continues to be the top one, with advice needed on furlough and redundancy.
The charity, which is running a £2,000 crowdfunding campaign to shore up its budget, is also continuing to help with practical support such as food bank referrals and working with East Herts police to raise awareness of Covid-related scams.
Its office in South Street, Bishop's Stortford, will remain closed until at least September as it cannot accommodate social distancing.
In the meantime, call the telephone advice line – Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 4pm – on 03444 111 444 or the message line anytime on 01920 459944. Alternatively, email and webchat are available. For more details see www.citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk.