Newly published statistics (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-june-2020) from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs show that 9,400 jobs have been furloughed by the end of May in our Fylde constituency area (shown on map below). This is slightly below the official figures for neighbouring constituencies, Blackpool South coming in at 10,300 and Blackpool North and Cleveleys at 9,500. The figures also show that more than a third of employees in some towns in Britain have been furloughed. Nationally, 8.9m workers were furloughed – amounting to a huge bill of £19.6bn. To pay for this ongoing scheme it is reported by the Financial Times that the government will have to resort to massive levels of borrowing not seen since the Second World War.
This Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was put in place in March by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to maintain jobs in firms struggling with the impact of Covid-19. The furlough scheme was originally intended to last until the end of July, but has now been extended until the end of October. The furlough scheme currently covers up to 80 per cent of an employee’s salary, capped at £2,500 a month per worker.
A similar programme for self-employed workers has seen 2.6 million claims made worth £7.5bn. Known as the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), it differs from the furlough scheme because it is a grant paid out in a single instalment covering three months and amounting to 80% of average profit. Self-employed workers can continue to apply for the first SEISS grant until 13 July. Applications for a second grant will open in August.