HMRC: Number of workers furloughed in Northern Ireland passes 240,000

HMRC data showed 70 per cent (23,800) of construction workers in the north were still furloughed at the end of last month.
Ryan McAleer

THE number of jobs impacted by coronavirus in the north climbed to 316,200 at the end of June, with 70 per cent of construction workers still furloughed, according to latest official data.

It means at least 36.4 per cent of the north’s entire labour force of 868,000 was in receipt of some kind of government Covid-19 wage assistance as of June 30.

HMRC said 240,200 people had been registered on the job retention scheme (JRS) as of June 30, some 28,500 more than at the end of May.

Another 8,000 claims were lodged under the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) in June, bringing the Northern Ireland total to 76,000.

A total of £216m has now been paid out to the self-employed here, with the average claim coming in at £2,800.

The total pay-out in Northern Ireland under the furlough scheme has yet to be disclosed, but according to the Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA), the median monthly wage for a private sector worker here stood at £1,916 last year.

At 80 per cent, that suggests around £370m could have been paid out under the furlough scheme in the north to date.

But with the numbers fluctuating, the total could be higher. HMRC said, as of Monday, a total of £28.7 billion has been claimed in the UK since the start of the scheme, with a total of 9.4 million jobs furloughed.

Despite lockdown restrictions being eased during June, 70 per cent (23,800) of Northern Ireland construction workers were still furloughed at the end of last month.

Retail still accounts for the largest number of furloughed workers (54,700), ahead of manufacturing (41,100) and accommodation/food services (40,100).

HMRC said that 30 per cent of all employees eligible under the JRS had been furloughed as of June 30.

At 37 per cent, the Mid Ulster constituency had the highest ratio of employees registered, followed by East Derry, North Antrim and South Down (all 33 per cent).

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