MORE than 40 per cent of businesses in East Renfrewshire believe redundancies are likely over the next three months.

The statistic was revealed in a report to the council’s cabinet, which sets out plans to combat the impact of Covid-19 on the area.

East Renfrewshire Council has surveyed local businesses and residents to help “fully understand” the influence of the pandemic.

The report states Covid-19 is “causing unprecedented disruption to the economy”.

It adds unemployment benefit claims rose from 950 in February this year to around 2,300 people currently.

“This is the third highest percentage rise for any council in Scotland," states the report. “This is clearly concerning and requires further analysis to understand the issues surrounding this.”

There has also been a “significant increase” in the number of young people, between 16 and 24, claiming out of work benefits.

The figure has increased from 175 in February to 515 by the end of June.

Early indications are the changes in the labour market brought about by Covid-19 will have the biggest impact on those on the lowest incomes and in the least secure jobs.

The report adds that young people, women, those with disabilities, minority groups, those with criminal convictions and people over 50 are expected to be “disproportionately” affected.

Key actions to respond to the economic downturn have been planned following feedback from an informal, cross-party renewal group, which included council leader Tony Buchanan and deputy leader Paul O’Kane.

The plans include helping local businesses through existing schemes, such as the council’s economic development team’s grant and loans programme, and encouraging business start-ups.

They also want to “reconsider and reprofile” the new Greenlaw business centre to ensure “maximum positive impact on local employment and businesses”.

It can provide workspace for start-ups and small businesses.

Businesses on high streets and in town centres will be provided with social distancing materials, risk assessments and training to “adjust to the ongoing uncertainty” over the phased easing of lockdown restrictions.

And a ‘Shop Local’ marketing campaign aims to “encourage spend in our town centres”. This will include leaflet drops and social media posts.

Labour market programmes, described as “bespoke”, are set to be provided to “upskill” and “re-skill” the workforce and safeguard apprenticeships.