One in five workers in Gloucestershire on furlough
By Rob Freeman | 18th June 2020
One in five of the workforce in Gloucestershire has been placed on furlough under the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
In all, 76,300 people across the county are seeing 80 per cent of their wages paid by the Government as they stay away from work - 19.9 per cent of the working age (16-64) population.
That is above the18.4 per cent rate across England and the South West (19.4 per cent).
The latest figures from HMRC show that the Cotswolds has the highest rate of furloughed workers across the county, the 11,200 on the scheme representing 21.7 per cent of the workforce.
Twenty per cent of the workforce in Gloucester is on furlough with 16,300 away from work.
In Cheltenham there are 14,500 people (19.6 per cent) on furlough with 10,000 in the Forest of Dean and 10,700 in Tewkesbury (both 19.5 per cent).
The lowest rate in the county is in Stroud with 13,600 furloughed workers, 19.1 per cent of the workforce.
Nationally, 6,445,800 workers have been placed on furlough.
But according to new research, around a third of them have been asked to do work by their employers while being paid under the job retention scheme.
According to Sky News, the study by Crossland Employment Solicitors says 34 per cent of furloughed workers have been asked to do their usual job or take on administrative tasks.
And one in five have been asked to cover for someone else or take on work linked to their employer.
Crossland managing director Beverley Sunderland said: "Like any fraud, this is a serious offence and an exploitation of employee.
"As it is fraud on the Treasury, an employer could be imposed with a hefty fine, asked to pay past payments back, have future payments withheld or even, potentially, face prison."
Latest Treasury figures show £20.8billion has been paid out with the Office for Budget Responsibility estimating the final cost will be around £60billion by the time it ends in October.
But the final cost could last much longer with a YouGov survey suggesting half of businesses believe they will be forced to make job cuts by the end of the year.
Only 34 per cent of business leaders said they were not planning to get rid of anyone, 21 per cent saying they would cut at least 10 jobs.
Eight out of 10 said they expect the economy to be in worse shape in 12 months than it was before the coronavirus pandemic, but 60 per cent felt their business will have at least returned to the same condition as before the crisis in a year's time.
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