This is how many South Tyneside workers have been placed on furlough by their bosses

The number of Nissan and automotive trade workers living in South Tyneside has been noted as one of the reasons why the figure stands at 16,300 across the borough.

Figures released through HM Revenue and Customs have revealed how many people across the UK area have been put on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

It was announced on Friday, March 20, three days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would be going into lockdown, to support employers who have been unable to continue business as usual due to the coronavirus outbreak and helping them to avoid job losses.

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Manufacturing businesses, including Nissan in Sunderland, were among those to use the furlough scheme launched by the Government to help protect the long-term future of jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

A total of 320,000 people supported through CJRS in each of Wales, Northern Ireland and the North East region of England – each area's figure is based on where people live, rather than where they work.

A breakdown of the figures - released officially for the first time and showing claims made up to Sunday, May 31 – show across Tyne and Wear 125,000 people have been placed on furlough.

Sunderland has the hightest with 32,400, while South Tyneside has 16,300 workers on the scheme.

Newcastle 30,300 has Gateshead 24,200 and North Tyneside 22,200.

Paul Swinney is director of policy and research for the Centre for Cities.

Of those in South Tyneside, 8,800 live in the South Shields constituency and 9,500 are in Jarrow.

Paul Swinney is director of policy and research with the Centre for Cities, an independent think tank dedicated to understanding and improving the economies of the UK's largest cities and towns.

He said the fact Nissan and the automotive industries based around its Wearside plant is likely to be the reason why Sunderland’s figure is higher than others, while many South Tynesiders are employed at the site and its supply chain – while a national breakdown of industries is given, localised numbers are not available.

Mr Swinney noted South Tyneside’s percentage on furlough per employed people stands at 25.7%, with the national average at 23%.

While the number of people on furlough was a concern, he said it was also a good sign companies were in a position to get them back into the business, rather than make redundancies.

He said: “When we have researched this, we’ve found that they are looking to protect workers.

“A lot of people from South Tyneside are employed in the automotive sector and come into Sunderland to work.

“The next batch of figures will be around the job market and will look at employment for May, so we will find out more when they come out next week.”

The scheme provides employers with financial support up to 80% of a salary, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contribution on that subsidised furlough pay.

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