Furlough scheme ends today - how will Lancaster district be affected?

Four per cent of the Lancaster district population was still on furlough at the end of July, latest figures show.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 12:30 pm
180 workers in the construction industry were still claiming furlough in the Lancaster district as of July 31.

As the government scheme comes to an end today, September 30, new figures reveal that as of July 31, 1,100 women and 1,000 men across the Lancaster City Council region were still on furlough.

This is out of a total of 29,200 women and 27,900 men eligible for the scheme.

Those furloughed workers are employed in the following professions across the district: Manufacturing - 130 workers; Construction - 180; Wholesale and retail/repair of motor vehicles - 440; Transportation and storage - 120; Accommodation and food services - 450; Information and communication, financial and insurance & real estate - 110; Professional, scientific and technical - 140; Administrative and support services - 240; Health and social work - 80; Arts, entertainment and recreation - 90; Other service activities - 80; Other - 80.

Thousands of businesses were closed until further notice due to the pandemic, with staff members put on furlough.

The furlough scheme supported 11.6m workers nationally, at a cost of £70billion.

But there have been warnings that businesses may need further help as the year progresses.

Economists have warned that although many may find work in recovering sectors such as hospitality and travel, there is also likely to be a rise in unemployment due to new redundancies.

One million workers were still understood to be receiving support through the financial scheme at the end of September, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

And the rate of unemployment, which dropped to 4.6 per cent last month, is likely to swing higher again.

The Liberal Democrats have called for furlough support to be extended for the 10 most affected sectors to avoid a “tidal wave” of job losses.

How did the furlough scheme work?

The furlough scheme started with the government contributing 80 per cent towards pay packets up to £2,500 - and employers could choose whether to pay an extra 20 per cent wage top up but they didn’t have to.

From July 2021, government contributions then fell to 70 per cent of wages up to £2,187 and from August and September the government paid 60 per cent towards wages.

Businesses could also bring furloughed employees back to work part-time while still claiming a flexible furlough grant from the government.

Thousands of businesses were closed until further notice due to the pandemic, with staff members put on furlough.

Employers could claim furlough payments for their workers, as long as they were employed through the PAYE system.

Will there be an extension to the furlough scheme?

There won’t be an extension to the furlough scheme but on September 30 the Government launched a new £500m scheme to help vulnerable households over winter.

The Household Support Fund will be distributed by councils in England which can assist the community through small grants to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and utilities, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said in a statement.

The funding will be made available to local authorities in October.

The DWP said the Barnett formula will apply in the usual way to additional funding in England, with the devolved administrations to receive up to £79 million of the £500 million.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said in the statement that the Government has “helped millions of people provide for their families” over the last year.