Total cost of furloughing hit £30bn in July

The total cost of furloughing hit £30.9bn at the end of July, up from £26.5bn at the end of June, new government figures have revealed.
The latest data also showed that a total 9.6 million jobs had been furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for at least part of the period between March to June – 32% of eligible employments.

No new employees could be put on furlough after 30 June, but claims were submitted during July. The claims have been made by 1.16 million employers, with 61% of eligible employers claiming through the scheme, the Government stated.

The figures also showed that the number of employments furloughed peaked at 8.9 million on 8 May, then reduced to 6.8 million by 30 June. This peak is lower than the mentioned total of 9.6 million mentioned, since furloughed staff have been furloughed for different periods.

Commenting on the latest figures, Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst, Sarah Coles, said: “The astronomical expense of emergency job support schemes continues to expand. But the frenzied speed at which the Treasury has been forking over cash slowed significantly in July. The additional monthly cost more than halved from £9.4bn in June to £4.6bn in July.

“Reopening big chunks of the economy – including the hospitality and tourism sector – had a dramatic impact. Millions of furloughed employees are returning to work, and life is edging slightly closer to normal in many areas. However, these figures also include growing numbers of employees who are dropping off the furlough scheme and into unemployment – as news of job losses mount.

“For an estimated 3 million people still on furlough, the future is uncertain. As the scheme tapers further in the next couple of weeks, their employers face footing more of the wage bill or letting them go.”

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