Thousands of Wiganers getting back to work after furlough
The number of Wigan workers on furlough is falling by thousands as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease.
Many pub, restaurant and shop workers returned to their roles in April as outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail opened for the first time since December. However, with restrictions still in place, businesses in other sectors continue to be hit hard by the effects of the pandemic.
HM Revenue and Customs figures show 12,900 jobs held by workers living in Wigan were furloughed in April, 3,900 fewer than the 16,800 furloughed at the end of March.
The figures also show that in April in Wigan:
Furloughed jobs in retail dropped by 1,170, to 2,730;
In the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors, 540 fewer jobs were supported by the scheme, however 850 were still furloughed in April;
The number of hospitality jobs furloughed fell by 390, to 3,160.
Through the scheme, the Government pays 80 per cent of a worker’s wages, up to £2,500 per month, if they haven’t been able to work due to the impact of the pandemic. However, employers will pay a larger contribution from July.
Dan Tomlinson, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, which focuses on living standards, said the drop in the number of people on furlough was “encouraging”. He added that it is an indicator that the labour market – as well as the wider economy – is recovering quickly.
“But with around one in six young workers still on furlough at the end of April, today’s figures are a stark reminder of the risk of rising unemployment when the furlough scheme ends,” he said.
“The Government must do all it can to ensure those workers find work quickly.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We’ll support those who need it through to September, but I am hopeful we’ll see more people moving back into work as we continue on the road to recovery.”
At a recent four-nation coronavirus recovery summit, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for the UK Government to extend the furlough scheme beyond September. Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the Government was “open-minded” about this.
Separate HMRC figures show 12,600 self-employed workers in Wigan have received Government cash since the self-employment income support scheme started. The total value of claims across the area stood at £107.2m.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here and viewing our offers.