Thousands were still on furlough in Chorley before Lockdown began to ease

But that was hundreds fewer workers compared to the previous month, latest figures reveal.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:38 pm

The latest statistics – which reveal the situation before pubs and non-essential shops opened for the first time in months – show that millions of people nationally were still on the income support scheme as of March 31.

HM Revenue and Customs data shows around 6,700 jobs held by workers living in Chorley were furloughed then.

That was 900 fewer than the 7,600 furloughed at the end of February, and lower than 7,700 in January.

Chorley furlough figures are released

Women in Chorley were slightly more likely to be furloughed than men, with a take-up rate of 13%, compared to 12%.

By the end of March, roughly 19,200 jobs had been supported by the scheme at any point since its inception, the figures show.

Jobs at firms which are unable to operate or have no work for their employees during the pandemic are eligible for furlough pay from the Government – with workers currently getting 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.

The scheme has been extended until the end of September – beyond the planned reopening of all areas of the economy on June 21 – and employers will have to pay a higher contribution from July.

Across the UK, 4.2 million jobs were furloughed as of March 31, down from 4.7 million a month before.

The latest figures do not cover the further easing of lockdown in April, which saw customers flood back to salons, gyms, pub gardens and non-essential shops across the UK.

But the Resolution Foundation, which focuses on living standards, said they indicate that the lifting of restrictions has "taken some of the heat off furlough".

"At the end of March, 4.2 million employees were furloughed. Initial estimates from Office for National Statistics business survey data suggest that as restrictions were eased, the number furloughed fell to just over 3 million", the think tank said.

"Still, firms in social consumption sectors like hospitality and leisure had over half of their employees furloughed in March.

"These are some of the lowest paid sectors containing a high share of young workers."

Around 1,410 hospitality jobs held by workers in Chorley were furloughed as of March 31 – 21% of all jobs.

That was the largest proportion of all sectors, followed by wholesale and retail, and motor vehicle repair services (20%).

Across the UK, 1.1 million jobs in the accommodation and food services sector were furloughed in March.