Almost 9m workers in the UK have been furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic at a cost of £19.6bn, according to new figures from the Treasury.
As of 7 June, 8.9m jobs were being supported by the government under its coronavirus job retention scheme, an increase of 200,000 on the week before.
Businesses have now claimed £19.6bn to cover the wages of furloughed employees, the data showed, up from £17.5bn the previous week.
Some 2.6m self-employed workers have submitted claims for a total of £7.5bn under the government’s self-employment income support scheme, according to Treasury data.
Under the coronavirus jobs retention scheme, the government covers 80 per cent of the wages of staff who have been placed on furlough, up to a total of £2,500 per month.
The deadline for employers to place new staff on furlough is tomorrow, and the scheme will be closed to new entrants from 30 June.
The scheme will end entirely at the end of October, chancellor Rishi Sunak has said, with employers starting to cover some of the costs of furloughed wages from August.
The Bank of England’s chief economist warned yesterday that Britain is suffering from what could be a record amount of inactivity in its labour market due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen activity across the economy collapse, and we’ve seen a rapid rise in inactivity among workers – both people being made unemployed, but importantly… eight million people underemployed due to furlough schemes,” Andy Haldane said at an online conference.
“That’s a level of inactivity in the jobs market we haven’t seen, possibly ever,” he added.