Thousands of Mansfield and Ashfield workers remain on furlough - but numbers falling
Hundreds more workers in Mansfield came off furlough in July – the first month employers had to make a contribution to salaries under the scheme, figures reveal.
But with 1.6 million UK workers still on furlough at the end of July, think tank the Resolution Foundation expects ‘a significant number’ to lose their jobs when the Government programme ends this month.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the latest figure – a 340,000 reduction from June 30 and the lowest since the start of the pandemic – was a sign of the country getting back to business.
The latest HM Revenue & Customs figures show 2,300 jobs held by workers living in Mansfield were furloughed as of July 31 – 5 per cent of all that were eligible.
That was 500 fewer than the 2,800 furloughed at the end of June. It was also down by two-thirds compared to the 7,300 on the scheme during the 2021 peak in January.
In Ashfield, 2,300 jobs held by workers were furloughed as of July 31, 600 fewer than the 2,900 furloughed at the end of June.
In Newark & Sherwood, 2,400 jobs were furloughed, 500 fewer than the 2,900 at the end of June.
An age breakdown for those on furlough has also been published for the first time.
In Mansfield, people aged 55-59 made up the highest proportion of those on furlough at 12 per cent, with 280 on the scheme.
Meanwhile, people aged 65-plus accounted for the smallest proportion at 6 per cent, with 140.
July was the first month employers had to pay 10 per cent of the salaries of their furloughed workers, giving them an incentive to bring staff back, or end their employment.
Employer contributions rose to 20 per cent in August and September, and the scheme is due to finish at the end of this month.
HMRC said the furlough scheme had protected nearly 12 million jobs since it began 18 months ago.
But the Resolution Foundation said a slowing down in the number of employees coming off the scheme in July meant there was a risk of a fresh rise in unemployment in the autumn.
The number of people moved off furlough in July was lower than the 550,000 fall seen the month before.
Charlie McCurdy, economist at the think tank, said: "The number of people coming off furlough over the summer has slowed to a trickle, as some firms and sectors struggle to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity.
“As a result, up to a million employees could still be on furlough when the scheme closes at the end of this month.
“While we expect most of these staff to return to their previous roles, a significant number will not."
The Government said it was ‘doubling down’ on its Plan for Jobs programme, aimed at providing skills and opportunities for people looking for work, ahead of the end of the furlough scheme.
Mr 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.”