Another 400,000 UK workers furloughed

Latest government figures show that another 400,000 UK workers are now at home on furlough because of the coronavirus.

The total number has risen to 8.4 million and the Treasury says the cost of the Job Retention scheme has risen by £15 billion from £11.1 billion.

Massive spike

The government scheme was put in place to allow workers to keep their jobs when their employers were forced to close under the lockdown regulations and avoided a massive spike in unemployment.

Now they can stay at home while the government pays 80% of their monthly salaries up to a maximum of £2,500.

Self-employed

The government scheme was put in place to allow workers to keep their jobs when their employers were forced to close under the lockdown regulations and avoided a massive spike in unemployment.

Now they can stay at home while the government pays 80% of their monthly salaries up to a maximum of £2,500.

A similar scheme for the self-employed, which attracted more than 2 million in its first week of operation, has now had 2.3 million claims, costing £6.8 billion.

The Self-employed Income Support scheme is slightly different from the furlough scheme as it is a direct grant from the government of 80% of the average of three months profits and does not have to be repaid.

Extended

The furlough scheme was originally set for three months to the end of June, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended it to the end of October to prevent a ‘cliff edge’ of mass unemployment.

However, in making the announcement the Chancellor also said the government expects employers to ‘start sharing’ the cost from August.

Cost

The Office for Budget Responsibility has said that the overall cost of both schemes will equal 15.2% of the UK’s economy – the highest level since the 22.1% at the end of the Second World War.

People are starting to return to work as the lockdown rules start to be eased and the numbers are expected to increase as long as the virus remains under control.