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Economic Data and Intelligence

This page provides an overview of key intelligence on the impact to date of COVID-19 on our economic output, our people and our businesses. We will use this information to guide our response, ensuring that we can protect and boost the SELEP economy in the short, medium and long term.

In the meantime, our COVID-19 Economic Response Statement sets out SELEP’s immediate response to the impacts of the pandemic and outlines our focus for longer term economy recovery and growth.

This page will be updated monthly.

SELEP overview

  • SELEP saw its peak of COVID-19 cases in April at just under 8,000 followed by month on month reductions to 941 in August. Infection rates vary significantly across the four federated areas and the local authorities within SELEP but many areas have begun to see an increase in recent weeks, with some districts experiencing almost as many cases in the period 1-13th September as for the whole of August. 

COVID-19 Economic Response Statement

View SELEP's Economic Response statement
  • At the end of July, over a third of the SELEP workforce, 583,200 employments, had received support through the furlough scheme, with Medway having the highest levels at 37,500 but one of the lowest proportions of eligible employments. Braintree, Eastbourne and Maldon saw the highest proportions at 34-35%.
  • An additional 193,600 self-employment income support claims have been made in SELEP over that period, with Medway again seeing the highest volume at nearly 13,000. As a proportion of eligible claimants, Castle Point, Harlow and Thurrock saw the highest rates at 80-81% (UK and SELEP average 77%).
  • The volume of people registering to claim Universal Credit is at 164,330, more than double that in March. June saw a reduction, but July and August have crept back up. Kent & Medway has the highest volume at over 72,000 but South Essex has the highest rate at 4,624 per 100,000 population.  Nearly 59% of claimants are male and by age, the biggest take up is within the 25-34 age range with nearly 43,000.
  • However, July and August have seen a significant increase in job postings in SELEP, with postings over the last 30 days consistently higher than the than the same time in 2019.
  • Almost £800 million of grant payments (distributed by the LA) have been paid to businesses in the SELEP area, with Wealden receiving the highest single amount of any district at nearly £41m.
  • Over 75,000 businesses in SELEP have also accessed over £2.8bn through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.
  • The SELEP Growth Hub supported more business engagements in the period April – June 2020 than in the previous year combined and although enquiries had reduced significantly by July from their peak in April they are now seeing an increase again, with August enquires up 50% and unique business contacts up 21%.


National overview

  • There have been 328,129 cases of COVID-19 in England and 37,014 deaths, as of the 14th September. The peak was seen in April, followed by a fast decline but rates have begun to rise again in recent weeks.
  • The UK economy formally entered a recession after Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020 saw a record fall of 20.4%, which followed a fall of 2.2% during Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020.
  • Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew for the third consecutive month in July, rising by 6.6% but remains but is 11.7% below February 2020 levels.
  • Major companies continue to report significant job losses and this is expected to increase as the furlough scheme comes to an end.
  • Recent ONS figures showed that the UK unemployment rate has risen to its highest level for two years at 4.1% with the 16-24 age group suffering the biggest drop in employment
  • The number of people claiming Universal Credit continues to rise with over 2.6 million in August.
  • There was a small increase in newly incorporated companies from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020 and from Q1-Q2 2020, however net gain/loss cannot be assessed as at Q2 data due to a pause on company dissolvements.