950,000 workers used flexible furlough in July

Nearly a million workers returned to their jobs part-time in the first month that flexible furlough was introduced, official figures show.

The Treasury revealed 950,000 workers – 20% of those furloughed across the UK – went back to their places of employment to work on a part-time basis when flexible furlough was introduced on 1 July, with the Government paying 80% of their wages for hours not worked.

At the coronavirus job retention scheme's peak in May, 30% of the workforce was placed on furlough, with the figures falling to 11% by mid-August.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“These figures show the success of our furlough scheme – making sure people’s jobs are there for them to return to.

“That so many businesses have been able to get back to trading, and bring their staff back to the workplace is a testament to the impact the scheme has had.”

However, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD), more action is needed to counteract job losses created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the IoD said:

“Coronavirus is taking its toll on the jobs market, but the full extent of the damage is still to emerge. With the job retention scheme winding down, cash-strapped firms will be struggling to support their staff.

“The Government must act quickly to counteract job losses and prevent the scarring effect of long-term unemployment.”

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