As the furlough scheme comes to an end, the latest figures have revealed that almost 12 million workers in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have been supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) since its launch last year.
The initiative – which forms part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs – supports businesses affected by Covid-19 by paying a percentage of employees’ wages while they are unable to work.
During August and September 2021, employers were required to contribute 20 per cent of earnings, while the Government has contributed 60 per cent.
Employers can choose to top up wages to 100 per cent, but it is not necessary to do so.
The latest statistics show that some £68.5 billion has been spent on the furlough scheme to protect the livelihoods of 11.6 million workers so far.
The CJRS, which has been in operation since March 2020, will close on 30 September.
Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions, commented on the success of the scheme saying: “Our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs is working, getting tens of thousands of people back into employment but also going further by helping workers boost skills, earnings and prospects.”
The figures also reveal that self-employed people and small business owners claimed a combined 9.9 million Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants, worth a total of £27 billion, throughout the pandemic.
Workers can now claim the fifth grant, but only if they pass the new “turnover test”, which requires self-employed workers to compare turnover figures for two tax years to prove that they have lost income as a result of the pandemic.
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