Fewest number of people on furlough since the scheme began, new figures reveal
Posted on 25th August 2021 at 07:07
Furlough numbers have recently fallen to a record-low since the beginning of the pandemic, government data has confirmed.
When businesses started reopening earlier this year, furlough numbers plunged by three million and have gradually declined ever since.
New records show that at the end of June 2021, nearly two million British workers were on furlough, dropping by nine million from the peak of the pandemic in May 2020.
Since June, it is also thought that furlough numbers have plummeted even further to around 1.5 million people, an ONS Business Insights and Conditions Survey reports.
Throughout the pandemic, 28% of employers had staff on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Recruitment worker, Jane told HR magazine that being on furlough was challenging when more people were going back to work and her job was left hanging in the balance.
She said: “It felt like everyone around me was going back to normal.
“However, I've been grateful for the time to take a step back and look at what I like about my role, what I don't like, and kind of developing from there.”
In recent visits to Scotland, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP recognised the economic power of the union and applauded the Government’s Plan for Jobs, which will continue to help people and businesses once the furlough scheme ends.
He said: “It’s fantastic to see businesses across the UK open, employees returning to work and the numbers of furloughed jobs falling to their lowest levels since the scheme began.
“I’m proud our Plan for Jobs is working, and our support will continue in the months ahead.”
For the first time since furlough began, young people are no longer the biggest demographic signed onto the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The reopening of hospitality and retail led to more than a million people leaving the scheme, with younger people making up the majority of the workforce in these sectors.
Since April 2021, nearly 600,000 under 25s have come off furlough, double the amount of older people who have left the scheme.
Furlough has been prolonged several times, but it will finally come to an end in September.
Employers currently have to pay 20% of furlough payments until the scheme officially concludes.
According to The Office for Budget Responsibility, the entire furlough scheme will have cost £66 billion by the time it finishes.
To help people moving forward, the Government’s Plan for Jobs project will continue to assist people back into work as the economy starts to bounce back.
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