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Number on furlough drops to 1.5m – lowest level since pandemic began

Number of workers on furlough drops to 1.5million – the lowest level since the pandemic began

The number of workers on furlough has fallen to 1.5m – the lowest level since the pandemic began and down from a peak close to 9m last year.

The reopening of bars, pubs and restaurants indoors on May 17 gave the economy a major boost and contributed to bosses bringing 700,000 staff back from furlough, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But the figures showed a significant number of workers, equivalent to 6pc of the workforce, were still reliant on the scheme, piling further pressure on ministers to lift restrictions.

The reopening of bars, pubs and restaurants indoors on May 17 gave the economy a major boost and contributed to bosses bringing 700,000 staff back from furlough

Just under a tenth of businesses have ‘no or low confidence of surviving the next three months’, the ONS said.

Around 25,000 hospitality premises are still shut because of social distancing rules, while many others are operating under severe capacity constraints, hampering bosses’ ability to bring staff back from furlough.

These companies will be forced to begin contributing to the wages of staff on furlough from next week piling costs on already struggling businesses. 

They will have to pay 10 per cent of staff wages, as well as pension and national insurance costs, while the taxpayer will cover 70 per cent of their wages.

Some bosses have said they want their staff to return to the office as soon as the Government lifts home working guidance.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk