Around one in eight workers remains on furlough as the job retention scheme is wound down, latest figures show.
Instead Rishi Sunak has offered to give a £1,000 bonus for each worker that companies bring back from furlough and employ through to January next year, in although critics warn such incentives “look too small to be effective given the uncertainty about the economic outlook”.
There are concerns the ending of furlough will to a sharp rise in unemployment following confirmation the UK had dived into its largest recession on record and figures revealed 730,000 jobs had already been lost since the coronavirus lockdown began.
Around ten million workers are covered by the country’s job retention programme, which was first used in the 2008 financial crash.
Other figures released by the ONS showed traffic figures was “gradually returning to pre-lockdown levels” as more people returned to work.
It also found 10% of businesses surveyed had warned they were at “moderate” risk of insolvency, with 1% of firms saying the risk was “severe”.
However, 77% of companies said there was no risk or a low risk that they could be forced into insolvency.
Chloe Gibbs, senior statistician at the ONS, said: “Despite recent economic news, it is encouraging to see that four in five businesses say they are at no or low risk of going bust.