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Number of furloughed workers remains at 9.6 million

Written by: Emma Lunn
A total of 9.6 million jobs have been furloughed at a cost of £34.7bn, as calls grow for the scheme to be extended.

As of Sunday 9 August, 9.6 million workers have been furloughed by 1.2 million employers. In total, the value of claims under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) stands at £34.7bn.

The furlough figure is the same as a week ago, although the total value of claims has jumped from £33.8bn to £34.7bn in the past week. The government releases weekly furlough figures every Tuesday.

Other figures also released by HMRC today show that about 730,000 people lost their job during lockdown. The unemployment statistics prompted the Trades Union Congress to call for the furlough scheme to be extended past October.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “The alarm bells couldn’t be ringing any louder. Ministers must act now to protect and create jobs.

“That means extending the job retention scheme for businesses with a viable future who can’t operate because of virus restrictions. It means investing in the jobs we need for the future in green industries, social care and across the public sector. And it means ensuring a decent safety net is in place to help those who lose their jobs get back on their feet. The more people in work the faster our economy will recover from this crisis.”

Support for the self-employed

Claims under the first tranche of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme closed on Monday 13 July.

Up until 19 July, 2.7m self-employed workers had claimed under the scheme, with the total value of claims standing at £7.8bn.

A second grant will be available for self-employed workers next Monday (17 August).

This second grant will be payable at a level equivalent to 70% of the taxpayer’s annual average profits, capped at £2,190 per month, so the maximum amount payable will be £6,570 to cover three months.

Support for businesses

Separate figures from the Treasury show that more than £51bn has been given in loans to struggling businesses.

Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, 1,157,296 businesses had received £34.96bn in loans as of 9 August. More than 1.4 million applications for the scheme have been submitted.

As part of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, £13.41bn has been approved to help more than 59,500 businesses, with more than 121,000 applications having been made under the scheme.

Turning to the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Treasury statistics revealed £3.4bn of loans have been approved for 497 businesses, with 896 applications having been received.

Stephen Pegge, managing director of commercial finance at UK Finance, said: “As the economic effects of the pandemic continue to develop, the UK’s banking and finance industry remains committed to helping the nation’s businesses through the crisis.

“The Bounce Back Loan Scheme now supports nearly 1.16 million small and micro enterprises, demonstrating that it continues to be a crucial and valued part of the industry’s support package for the economy.

“The government-backed loan schemes are just one part of the industry’s broader plan for helping the nation’s businesses, and operate alongside commercial lending, capital repayment holidays, extended overdrafts and invoice finance facilities.

“It is important to remember that any lending provided under government-backed schemes is a debt not a grant, and so firms should carefully consider their ability to repay before applying.”

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