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London and South East have highest furlough rate

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More than two million people in London and the South East have been furloughed since the government scheme launched in March.

The number furloughed in the capital (1.074 million) and the South East (1.035 million) is higher than the combined total for Scotland (628,000), Wales (316,500) and Northern Ireland, which has 211,7000 supported through the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Under the scheme, employers can keep staff on the PAYE payroll even if they can’t work because of coronavirus and the government currently pays 80% of wages up to a monthly maximum of £2,500.

As part of the new experimental statistics providing further information on claims made based on employer size, sector of economy and geography, it revealed that the West Ham and Tottenham parliamentary constituencies have the highest number of furloughed employees, with 29,300 and 25,400 respectively.

Based on local authority, Birmingham and Leeds have the highest number of furloughed staff, with 122,800 and 88,200 respectively.

Turning to employer size, the figures reveal that a greater portion of companies with 250+ employees have taken advantage of the scheme. Up to 31 May, 6,300 of these larger firms placed 2.47 million workers on furlough at a cost to the government of £4.87bn.

However, 387,000 smaller firms employing two to four workers put 829,000 workers on furlough.

When it comes to economic sector, the wholesale and retail; repair of motor vehicles had the highest furlough number. A total of 161,900 employers furloughed 1.609 million employees.

This is followed by 1.4 million employees in the accommodation and food services sector being placed under the job retention scheme.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Statistics were also revealed for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Up to 31 May, 2.4 million of the potentially eligible population (70% or 3.4 million) had claimed a SEISS grant with the value of these claims totalling £7bn. The average value per claim was £2,900.

Around two-thirds of the potentially eligible population are male (2.3 million) and a slightly lower proportion of potentially eligible females have claimed a SEISS grant (66%) compared to males (72%).

The average claim for females is also lower at £2,300 compared to the average claim for males of £3,200.

When it comes to age, take up is lowest for those aged over 65 (55%) and those aged 16 to 24 (62%).

The sector with the highest number of potentially eligible individuals and the highest proportion of claims is the construction industry.

By 31 May construction workers had made 800,000 claims for SEISS totalling £2.9bn.

The two regions with the highest number of claims are London (433,000) and the South East (352,000), reflecting their relative sizes, although London has the lowest take-up rate amongst the UK countries and regions.

Self-employed workers whose businesses have been negatively hit by coronavirus can apply for SEISS which  currently offers a taxable grant worth 80% of people’s average monthly profits, up to a maximum of £2,500.

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