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Plan for Jobs on road to Covid recovery is working, says Rishi Sunak

Plan for Jobs on road to Covid recovery is working, says Rishi Sunak
Courtesy: Dan Kitwood / Staff | Getty Images News via Getty Images

Furlough numbers have fallen to their lowest level this year, according to official statistics published this week, as the number of people relying on the scheme fell to 3.4 million.

“The data is another welcome sign that our Plan for Jobs is working and that the route we have taken is the right one,” said Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, responsible for the UK’s economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The senior British Indian Cabinet minister added: “These figures show the scheme is naturally winding down as people get back to work and take advantage of the opportunities out there in the jobs market.

“We’ll continue to support those who need it through to September but I am hopeful that we’ll see more people moving back in to work as we continue on the road to recovery.”


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Furlough support

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 11.5 million employees and 1.3 million employers have now been supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or furlough.

Latest figures also show that 2.8 million individuals benefitted from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which has provided over £24 billion in support.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey results estimate that the number of employees on furlough fell even further in early May.

Alongside the furlough and self-employed schemes, the Kickstart scheme is creating thousands of new jobs for young people and a range of business grants and loans have provided a bridge so that businesses could make it through the pandemic.

Tapered approach

The furlough scheme will continue until the end of September, to provide support well beyond the end of the roadmap.

Sunak said the government is taking a tapered approach, with employers starting to make a small contribution to paying their employees who are still on furlough from next month.

As the economy reopens and demand returns, the government will ask employers to make a small contribution of 10 per cent towards the cost of paying for unworked hours from July. This employer contribution will increase to 20 per cent in August and September.

This is the same approach the government introduced last summer and the majority of employees went back to work.

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