The cost of furloughing millions of British workers rose by more than £2billion in the last week of July, new figures show. Some 9.6 million jobs had been covered by the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) up to August 2, Government figures show. This was an increase of 100,000 on the previous week. The cumulative
The cost of furloughing millions of British workers rose by more than £2billion in the last week of July, new figures show.
Some 9.6 million jobs had been covered by the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) up to August 2, Government figures show. This was an increase of 100,000 on the previous week.
The cumulative cost of the scheme rose from £31.7billion on July 26 to £33.8billion on Sunday, an increase of £2.1billion.
However, HM Revenue and Customs said it does not currently have data on how many jobs are currently furloughed.
This makes it hard to determine how many people have gone back to work amid Boris Johnson’s call for offices and other workplaces to reopen to stimulate the economy.
Yesterday was meant to be the day many Britons returned to their workplaces after official guidance was altered to dissuade people from working from home.
But many offices, factories and other workplaces have remained closed as reluctant Brits stay home – many with the blessing of their employers.
Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said almost a fifth of workers – an estimated six million people – remained on furlough despite Government attempts to bring the economy back to life.
Yesterday was meant to be the day many Britons returned to their workplaces after official guidance was altered by Boris Johnson (pictured yesterday leaving London to work from Chequers) to dissuade people from working from home
It said roughly one in three furloughed workers in Britain returned to their jobs in the first two weeks of July as the hospitality industry began to reopen to the public after a coronavirus lockdown.
But in a further blow for ministers hopes of a swift economic recovery, businesses surveyed between June 29 and July 12 said 7 per cent of their staff had returned from furlough within the past two weeks.
Some 18.5 per cent remained on leave on a government-funded programme which pays 80 per cent of their salaries.
An ONS survey released last week posted a bleak picture of the return from furlough
The JRS is due to end in October, prompting forecasts of a big rise in unemployment.
Last week the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said it could cost 1.2million jobs.
Meanwhile more than £50 billion of loans to businesses hit by Covid-19 have been approved so far, the Treasury said today.
This includes, up to August 2, £33.34billion in bounceback loans for 1,135,575 businesses.
The Government, which is guaranteeing the vast majority of the loans should they not be repaid, added that £13.08billion has been endorsed through the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) and £3.27billion through the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme (CLBILS) to larger firms.
A total of 537 convertible loans have been awarded through the Future Fund, totalling £534 million.
The Whitehall workers who STILL aren’t back in the office: Number of civil servants at their desks plummets despite Government pleas for their return
Just days ago civil servants were urged to return to the office by the Government – but far from leading by example, the number back at their desks in Whitehall has plummeted further.
MPs called on staff to show the way for the rest of Britain last week after a Mail investigation revealed ministerial offices were like ‘ghost towns’ with only a fraction of staff turning up.
But despite Boris Johnson stepping in to reassure employees it was safe to go back, the number of people arriving at ministerial offices yesterday morning was down by up to a third on last week.
It comes after health officials investigated a coronavirus outbreak at the Cabinet Office and Home Office last week (file photo of Lunar House, which houses a division of the Home Office)
The largest drop was at the 800,000-square-foot Home Office headquarters where only 94 staff arrived – 50 fewer than last Wednesday.
Meanwhile only one per cent of the Department for Education’s London workforce were observed entering its seven-floor offices, which held up to 2,000 staff before lockdown. The two dozen seen arriving yesterday was down from 34 last Thursday.
Offices are understood to be running at a reduced capacity of 30 per cent. But just 112 people were counted going in to work at a 100-year-old Government building that would normally house thousands of staff from five ministries, including the Treasury. Last week the average was 140.
Treasury staff, who must book a space 48 hours in advance if they want to go in, have reportedly been assured they will get two months’ notice before any collective return to work. Only the Department for Work and Pensions, which has space for around 1,700 workers, saw a slight uptick in staff turning up to work – from 31 last Thursday to 33 yesterday.
It comes after health officials investigated a coronavirus outbreak at the Cabinet Office and Home Office last week.
Workers are reportedly being reassured privately by some department bosses that they will be able to continue working from home this month and only need to come in if they want to.
Just 112 people were counted going in to work at a 100-year-old Government building that would normally house thousands of staff from five ministries (file photo of HM Treasury)
There are growing fears city centre shops and eateries which rely on custom from office workers face ruin if more employees are not encouraged to return. Last week Alex Chisholm, second-in-command at the Civil Service, told departments it was time to ‘change the default that civil servants should work from home and accelerate the return to the workplace from August’.
Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union representing civil servants, said the Government should not be using officials to ‘virtue-signal’ to the private sector.
A Government spokesman said: ‘We are consulting closely with employees on ending the default that civil servants should work from home and have ensured workplaces are Covid-secure so civil servants can return safely.’