Furloughed staff at lowest number since start of pandemic

The number of people on furlough has fallen to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic as the UK economy continues to recover and businesses reopen

A total of 1.6 million people were on furlough as of 31 July, down from almost two million on 30 June, while around 800,000 people have claimed the latest self-employment scheme grant, according to the latest HMRC figures.

The figures also show a striking fall in the number of young people on furlough, as a total of 121,600 people between the ages of 18-34 came off the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the months of June and July.

For claim periods from 1 August, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough until the scheme ends on 30 September.

The number of people on furlough in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, as well as accommodation and food services have seen particularly large reductions in the number of jobs on furlough over the course of the summer, with numbers furloughed from these sectors declining by 26,200 and 96,700 in July respectively.

The latest statistics for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme show a consistent fall in demand since the beginning of the scheme. Across all five grants, 9.9m claims have been made and more than £27bn has been paid out to almost three million people.

In another positive sign for the economy and jobs, the latest Insolvency Service figures also show that fewer potential redundancies were notified in August than any other month in 2020-21.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘It’s fantastic to see furlough levels at their lowest since the start of the pandemic with young people in particular getting back to work and kickstarting their careers as the UK gets back to business.

‘With furlough naturally unwinding and coming to a close at the end of the month we are doubling down on our Plan for Jobs – focusing our support on giving people the skills and opportunities they need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow.’


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