Thousands fewer Portsmouth workers on furlough in April, claims government

THOUSANDS fewer workers in Portsmouth were on furlough in April, as coronavirus restrictions started easing across the UK.

By David George
Monday, 7th June 2021, 8:25 am

Many pub, restaurant and shop workers returned to their roles that month as outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail opened for the first time since December.

However, with restrictions still in place, businesses in other sectors continue to be hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

HM Revenue and Customs figures show that 10,500 jobs held by workers living in Portsmouth were furloughed in April.

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The reopening of venues like Brewhouse and Kitchen in Southsea has helped bring Portsmouth workers off furlough. Picture: Habibur Rahman

That was 3,300 fewer than the 13,800 furloughed at the end of March.

Furloughed jobs in the retail sector dropped to 1,590, with a further 1,070 in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors and 3,350 in hospitality.

Dan Tomlinson, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, which focuses on living standards, said the drop in the number of people on furlough was ‘encouraging’.

‘But with around one in six young workers still on furlough at the end of April, today’s figures are a stark reminder of the risk of rising unemployment when the furlough scheme ends,’ he said.

‘The government must do all it can to ensure those workers find work as quickly as possible.’

The furlough scheme, which sees the government cover 80 per cent of an employee’s wages while they’re off work, will run until September – though there are calls for this to be extended further, particularly by Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘We’ll continue to support those who need it through to September but I am hopeful that we’ll see more people moving back into work as we continue on the road to recovery.’

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