Fears for the jobs of the thousands of Blackpool workers still on furlough

The latest figures on the number of people still on furlough show that hundreds in Blackpool came off the pandemic support scheme in July – the first month employers had to make a contribution to salaries under the scheme.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 3:30 pm

But with 1.6 million UK workers still on furlough at the end of July, think tank the Resolution Foundation is concerned that “a significant number” to lose their jobs when the programme ends this month.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the latest figure – a 340,000 reduction from June 30 and the lowest since the start of the pandemic – was a sign of the country getting back to business.

The latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs show 2,900 jobs held by workers living in Blackpool were furloughed as of July 31 – 5 per cent of all that were eligible.

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While shoppers returned to the streets and hospitality venues were open in July, many workers are still furloughed

That was 1,000 fewer than the 3,900 furloughed at the end of June.

It was also down by three-quarters compared to the 11,400 on the scheme during the 2021 peak in January.

An age breakdown for those on furlough across local authority areas has also been published for the first time.

In Blackpool, people aged between 50 and 54 made up the highest proportion of those on furlough with 360 (12 per cent) on the scheme.

Meanwhile, people aged 65 and over accounted for the smallest proportion – 170 (6 per cent). Meanwhile, people aged 65 and over accounted for the smallest proportion – 120 (4 per cent).

Following the reopening of indoor hospitality in May, the accommodation and food services sector continued to see the highest numbers of UK workers coming off furlough in July.

This was also the case in Blackpool, with the number of furloughed hospitality employees falling by 430.

It was followed by the wholesale and retail sector which saw 100 people come off the scheme. Charlie McCurdy, economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “"The number of people coming off furlough over the summer has slowed to a trickle, as some firms and sectors struggle to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity.

“As a result, up to a million employees could still be on furlough when the scheme closes at the end of this month.

“While we expect most of these staff to return to their previous roles, a significant number will not."