Hospitality workers have been worse hit as the UK’s unemployment rate rose to 5% in the three months to November 2020, new figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed.

According to the ONS, over 200,000 people lost their jobs in the three-month period, contributing to the 1.72 million people out of work, and 828,000 fewer people were on company payrolls through December compared to February 2020.

The hospitality sector was worst hit, with the number of unemployed up by more than 50,000 year-on-year.

The rate marks the highest level of unemployment since 2016, and data revealed that parts of London have seen the highest percentage falls, followed by north-eastern Scotland.

The report also showed the effectiveness of the Government’s furlough scheme, which was shielding 2.4 million workers from unemployment at the end of October, down from a peak of 8.9 million in May.

“This crisis has gone on far longer than any of us hoped, and every job lost as a result is a tragedy,” said Chancellor Rishi Sunak, responding to the findings. “Whilst the NHS is working hard to protect people with the vaccine, we’re throwing everything we’ve got at supporting businesses, individuals and families.

“Our Plan for Jobs includes grants and loans so that firms can keep employees on, the furlough scheme to help protect jobs, and programmes like Kickstart alongside record investment in skills so that people can find their first job, their next job or a new job if needed.”