Less than half of companies topped up furlough pay in last fortnight of May

Time 1 year ago

Less than half of firms with furloughed staff have been paying the difference above the 80 per cent that the scheme guarantees workers each month up to £2,500.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that in the last two weeks of May just 42 per cent of businesses said they’d made up the shortfall, despite 79 per cent of them trading for most of the month.

Between May 18 and 31, five per cent of companies had resumed trading, with another five per cent saying they intended to start again during June.

Some 30 per cent of the workforce was on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, it found, corresponding with similar data from the government.

The Treasury said on Tuesday (16th) that 9.1 million jobs were covered by the scheme, which the Office for Budget Responsibility said was expected to cost around £60bn by the time it closes in October.

In the ONS’s Business Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Survey, which saw 7,245 UK businesses responding from a sample size of 20,548, 84 per cent of firms said they were continuing to trade.

Just 16 per cent said they temporarily closed or paused trading, with their size making little difference.

Around five per cent of the workforce returned from furlough at the end of May, mainly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

In a regional breakdown, the ONS said the highest percentage of companies reporting less than six months of cash reserves was in Wales at 46 per cent, versus 42 per cent in England, 41 per cent in Northern Ireland and 39 per cent in Scotland.

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John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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