One in eight workers still on furlough before scheme winds down – ONS

Around one in eight of the workforce remain on furlough ahead of the winding down of the job retention programme, according to new figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said that its latest fortnightly survey into the impact of coronavirus on UK firms revealed that 12% of the workforce is still furloughed.

The survey contacted 23,905 businesses regarding trading and the impact of the virus for the two-week period to August 9.

Two-thirds of furloughed employees, 67%, said they were receiving top-up payments from their employers as well as the 80% contribution from the Government.

Next month, the Government will only contribute 70% of wages, with this reducing to 60% in October, before the furlough scheme is completely wound down.

Road traffic data from the Department for Transport revealed that traffic figures are “gradually returning to pre-lockdown levels” as more people returned to work.

It also said that 10% of surveyed businesses warned they have a “moderate” risk of insolvency, with 1% of firms saying the risk was “severe”.

Meanwhile, 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.

“Road traffic data show that the number of car journeys is returning back to normal levels as people venture out to shops and travel to work.”

The ONS’s index for the price of high-demand products saw the value of products nudge just 0.3% higher over the period as grocery inflation remained broadly stable.