The number of people on furlough has almost halved in three months to the end of May 2021, according to HM Treasury.
More than one million workers came off furlough in the four weeks between the end of April and the end of May which coincided with the start of restrictions being lifted and non-essential retail, restaurants and pubs reopening.
The new figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Business Impact of Covid-19 survey showed that 2.4 million people moved off the scheme between the end of February and the end of May as businesses reopened.
The figures also show that the largest reduction in furlough use came from the hospitality, retail and accommodation sectors, with nearly 180,000 people in pubs, bars and clubs alone returning to work between April and May.
As the economy begins to reopen and demand returns, employers are being asked to contribute more and from today (2 July 2021), they will contribute 10% towards the cost of paying for unworked hours.
Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, 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.”