The state has stepped in to support over eight million workers since mid-March

New figures announced today (Monday) by HMRC that 6.3 million workers have been furloughed since the Job Retention Scheme opened on 20 April, and new DWP figures showing that 1.8 million Universal Credit claims have been made between 16 March and the end of April (along with 250,000 claims for Jobseekers’ Allowance), show that Britain is experiencing an economic crisis like no other.


Commenting on the new figures, Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, said:

“Unprecedented numbers of workers are coming through the Government’s Job Retention Scheme to have their wages largely paid by the state. The 6.3 million jobs being furloughed shows in stark terms the scale of the economic shutdown that Britain is living through.

“If this kind of volume of workers stay on the scheme for several months the cost will run into the tens of billions of pounds. And that is a cost very much worth paying.

“Even despite mass furloughing, unemployment is still soaring, with over two million new claims for benefits coming though. This should remind us how badly needed the retention scheme is, but also that we are likely to be living with the legacy of high unemployment that coronavirus has given Britain, long after it has been phased out.”