Thursday 25 March 2021 2:06 pm

Furlough: Extra 200,000 workers temporarily laid off in February

The government paid out almost £4bn in additional furlough costs last month as a  further 200,000 people were temporarily laid off.

HM Revenue and Customs said it has paid a total of £57.7bn in furlough claims to around 11.4m workers since the pandemic began a year ago.

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Separate data published today by the Office for National Statistics showed that 19 per cent of businesses’ workforce were on furlough through the end of February and March.

This equates to around 6.1m people on furlough, with 80 per cent of their wages being covered by the government. 

75.4 per cent of accommodation and food service employees were still temporarily laid off as the sector remains closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses have also been given support over the past month, borrowing an extra £2.2 billion from three Treasury-backed loan schemes.

Banks provide the money for the loans, but the Government has promised to cover 80% to 100% of the loans should businesses be unable to pay them back.

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In the month to March 21, another £1.3 billion was lent in Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILS), and around £900 million in Bounce Back Loans, which help the smallest businesses.

It takes the total lent through the two schemes – and through CLBILS, a scheme for larger firms – to £75.1 billion since they were introduced between March and May last year.