Furlough number at a record low in final month of operation

"Our unprecedented furlough scheme helped people when they needed it most" - Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

The number of people on furlough fell to a record low during its last month of operation, according to new statistics published today (4 November).

Figures show a further 210,000 employees came off the scheme in September – and around half of the 1.1 million people still being supported were on flexible furlough working some of their hours.

Insolvency Service data also showed redundancy notifications remained low throughout September.

Since the end of April, as restrictions started to ease, 2.4 million people have left the scheme as the economy has reopened.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

Our unprecedented furlough scheme helped people when they needed it most.

And as a result of our action the economy is growing, more employees are on payrolls than ever before and unemployment has fallen for 8 months in a row.

We are now investing billions building a stronger economy of higher wages, higher skills and rising productivity – and our Plan for Jobs will continue to deliver the opportunities people need to get ahead.

The furlough scheme was a vital piece in the unprecedented package of support the government provided during the pandemic which protected livelihoods and communities when they need it most.

Since its launch in March 2020, 11.7 million jobs have been protected and 1.3 million businesses supported. A further 2.9 million self-employed people were also supported by the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

These statistics come after the Chancellor unveiled a £3.8 billion investment in skills to boost productivity and wages at the Autumn Budget and Spending Review last week, as government support for workers moves to the next phase.

This investment will expand T levels, build Institutes of Technology, roll out the lifetime skills guarantee and quadruple the number of skills bootcamp places.

The Chancellor has also committed to an extra £500 million towards the next phase of the government’s Plan for Jobs which will support hundreds of thousands of people into work and into better paid work.

It will help those on Universal Credit boost their career with advice from their dedicated work coach, support older workers with enhanced support through the Job Finding Support and Job Entry Targeted Support schemes and extend the Kickstart jobs placement scheme for 18–24-year-olds.

  • The latest HMRC statistics on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme can be found online


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