More than one in ten jobs in South Tyneside furloughed
This was the same number at the end of November and the joint-second highest figure of the last six months of 2020, behind July.
The Resolution Foundation think-tank say furloughing has helped protect incomes during the coronavirus pandemic, but warned its expected end – in just three months – could trigger a wave of job losses across the UK.
Jobs at firms which are unable to operate or have no work for their employees because of coronavirus are eligible for furlough pay from the Government – with workers currently getting 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.
Nationally, 3.8 million jobs were furloughed as of December 31.
With the furlough scheme set to end on April 30, the Resolution Foundation said the latest figures show how vital it has been in preserving jobs during the pandemic.
Charlie McCurdy, a researcher at the think-tank, said: “The Job Retention Scheme has been a living standards lifeline for millions of workers, with three-in-ten private sector workers furloughed at the peak of the first lockdown.
“The winding up of the scheme in just three months’ time is expected to cause a fresh wave of unemployment.
"It’s vital therefore that the Chancellor ensures a flexible transition out of the scheme, in order to avoid millions of workers simply moving from furlough straight into unemployment.”
As in the rest of UK, the industry with the most jobs furloughed in the North East is hospitality, with 37,100 at the end of December – 30% of all furloughed employments in the region.
An HM Treasury spokesman said: ‘’We’ve invested more than £280 billion throughout the pandemic to protect millions of jobs and businesses.
‘’As the IFS acknowledge, the Government has designed and provided one of the most generous self-employed income support schemes in the world which has helped nearly 3 million people claim almost £20bn pounds."