Furlough rates in Suffolk drop significantly in August

Andy Walker of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Picture: SUFFOLK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Andy Walker of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Picture: SUFFOLK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Credit: Archant

The number of workers under the government’s furlough scheme in Suffolk dropped significantly in August, latest statistics have revealed.

Across the county, the number of workers under the Job Retention Scheme dramatically reduced in August, with pubs and restaurants boosted by the Eat out to Help Out scheme and office workers enticed to return to their desks.

In almost all parliamentary constituencies in Suffolk, less than 10% of eligible workers remained on the scheme in August – while nearly one in three had been paid to stay away from their jobs in June.

In total, 26,900 remained under the scheme.

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In Ipswich, just 5,200 of the 57,7000 eligible workers remained on the scheme – representing just 9% of the workforce, compared to 28% in July and 26% in June.

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West Suffolk and Waveney also saw 9% remain on the scheme with 5,000 and 3,900 workers respectively, having both previously seen more than 30% of their workers put under the scheme as of July.

Suffolk Coastal and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich both saw their figure stand at 10% in August – one month after their figures stood at 31% and 29% respectively.

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South Suffolk saw the highest number remaining under the scheme at 4,300 – or 11% – although again showed a significant drop from the 32% figure in July.

Andy Walker, head of policy at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said the drop showed good news in the short-term, although raised fears about support for workers over winter.

Mr Walker said: “A reduction in the number of employees on furlough in August was to be expected as sectors began to re-open and the government encouraged travel and the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, of course this is good news in the short-term.

“The fear though is that with winter approaching and case numbers starting to rise again, many businesses or sectors may see reduced demand or a worst-case scenario would be additional restrictions and a partial lockdown.”

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The furlough scheme comes to an end on October 31, but is however being replaced with the Job Support Scheme, which will pay workers 67% of their wages, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Mr Walker added: “The Job Support Scheme should help businesses who see demand fall in the short-term and we’re pleased to see the government reduce the employer contributions to 5% following lobbying by the chamber network over the last couple of weeks, this could be a vital policy change in helping businesses to survive and keep staff employed.”

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