The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which began in spring 2020, came to a close yesterday.
The government initially paid 80% of the wages of people who couldn’t work or whose employers could no longer afford to pay them – up to £2,500 a month.
This dropped to 70% with employers required to pay 10% of salaries in July and dropped to 60% in August and September.
Many forecasters, including the Bank of England, expected a small rise in unemployment after furlough ended. The most recent figures show that 1.6 million people were still on furlough at the end of July. This was the lowest level since the start of the pandemic and 340,000 fewer than a month earlier.
For those that have lost their job since the end of furlough, the good news is that the number of vacancies is at a record high.
The government estimates that 11.6 million jobs have been supported since the scheme began. However, in doing so the scheme has cost £66 billion, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.