Figures from the Treasury show that 173,100 jobs were furloughed at the end of May, compared to 275,700 a month earlier. Scotland has 83,300 jobs fully and 89,900 partially furloughed – compared with 153,700 and 122,000 respectively in April.
UK-wide, more than one million workers came off furlough in May alone, taking the figure to the lowest rate since the pandemic began. A total of 2.4 million people remain furloughed or flexi-furloughed down from a peak of nearly 9 million at the height of the pandemic in May last year.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our Plan for Jobs has supported people’s jobs and livelihoods throughout the pandemic and it’s fantastic to see so many people coming off furlough and into their workplaces with our restaurants, pubs and shops reopened.
“These figures show what we always hoped would happen – that the scheme is naturally winding down as the economy reopens, but continuing to support those businesses and employees that need our help.”
The new figures come as a poll reveals that more than a third of Scots are worried about the future of their job as furlough schemes look set to wind down over the coming months. From now, employers must pay ten per cent of their furloughed workers' usual wage, while the government will continue to pay the other 70 per cent. The study found that eight per cent said they are ‘very worried’ and 26 per cent said they are ‘quite worried’. Only a quarter of Scots said they are ‘not at all worried’ about their employment.
Concerns are particularly high in the north east of Scotland, according to the poll carried out by Survation for Advice Direct Scotland. Younger people are most worried.
Chief executive Andrew Bartlett said: “It’s particularly alarming to see such high figures among women, the young, and people in the north-east. The Covid pandemic caused massive economic turmoil, but many jobs have been protected as a result of the furlough scheme or grants.
“With the end of those schemes in sight, it’s likely that many workers will be increasingly worried.”