MORE than 20,000 jobs in Southampton could be lost due to the coronavirus crisis, it has been revealed.

An estimated 23,000 (23%) of jobs in the city “are at risk due to Covid-19”, according to an official report published by Southampton City Council.

The document shows that the accommodation and food service sector is the one set to be hit the most with a total of 6,368 jobs at risk.

It is followed by administrative and support service activities with 3,135 jobs at risk.

Another 2,691 jobs could be lost in the human health and social work sector, 3,015 jobs could be at risk in retail and repair of motor vehicles sectors while 2,072 jobs could instead be lost in the transport and storage industry.

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The projection was published in a report discussed by the Health and Wellbeing Board at the city council on Thursday night.

The document also revealed that child poverty “already an issue in the city” is expected to be exacerbated by job losses.

Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead urged the government to review the furlough scheme and ensure that people can easily access Universal Credit.

“Many of these job losses will be jobs that were low paying where people have not been able to save up much in the way of reserves,” Mr Whitehead said.

According to the data, 1,519 jobs are also at risk in the art and entertainment industry while the construction and manufacturing sectors could lose 1,446 and 1,160 jobs respectively.

The report also revealed that health inequalities in the city could be exacerbated and that the number of residents on Universal Credit went from around 16,500 in March 2020 to 22,200 in April 2020.

Cllr Dan Fitzhenry, Conservative leader in the city, said the numbers are “deeply worrying” but councillors and government will do all they can to support local residents.

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith, pictured below, added: “Not every business and not every job will survive and the Government will do everything in its power to get those people back into meaningful employment as quickly as possible.

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“I am disappointed that the city council would put such a ‘back of a fag packet’ estimate into the public domain. We need positive messages and optimism, not doom and gloom to get us through this pandemic.”

Southampton City Council leader councillor Christopher Hammond, pictured below, said the authority will be “relentless” in driving forward the long term recovery for the city.

He added: “The council will be working with local industries to build resilience across different business sectors, supporting those who may face redundancy and supporting growth to build new job opportunities in new sectors.

“We’ll be encouraging organisations to invest in the city, hire local people and provide opportunities to enhance social mobility.

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“As reported to the committee, health inequalities are a problem locally, nationally and internationally, but this is already a key focus for the council and the NHS.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to make sure the city comes back from this even stronger.”