How many people were on furlough in Peterborough in December?

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Furlough take-up in Peterborough was at 10% in December (Photo: John Baker)

Of the 62,200 eligible workers in the Peterborough constituency, there were 6,300 on furlough in December. 

At the height of the lockdown, in May and June 2020, between 21% and 25% of eligible workers in Peterborough were being paid to stay away from their jobs.

This fell to 8% of workers in August, as lockdown restrictions eased and businesses began re-opening for the summer, and was as low as 5% in October before subsequent lockdowns were announced.

In the North West Cambridgeshire consituency, take-up of the furlough scheme was also 10%, but with more workers this represents 6,900 people.

Both Peterborough and North West Cambridgeshire statistics are below the national average, which shows that across the UK 13% of employmees were furloughed as of December 31.

Despite the country being in a third national lockdown, the number of people signed up to the furlough scheme hasn't reached the same level as it was during the first lockdown in 2020.

Charlie McCurdy, a researcher at the Resolution Foundation think tank, said: "The Job Retention Scheme has been a living standards lifeline for millions of workers, with three in 10 private sector workers furloughed at the peak of the first lockdown. And with the UK back in lockdown, over four million employees are likely to be on furlough right now.

"The winding up of the scheme in just three months’ time is expected to cause a fresh wave of unemployment. It’s vital therefore that the Chancellor ensures a flexible transition out of the scheme, in order to avoid millions of workers simply moving from furlough straight into unemployment."

Some workers, like Maria from Yaxley who wrote Peterborough Matters a letter about her experience with the furlough system, have found that they aren't entitled to money from the furlough scheme because they changed jobs after the cut-off date of October 31.

She wrote: "I spent the first week unable to eat and anxious about what may happen. I spoke with numerous friends and family and found out this had happened to many people previously during the first lockdown, some were left with no funds.

"Being in the process of buying my first home and the stress that comes with this already I was then left to wonder how I would ever afford this now. I find it astonishing in the current circumstances that because I didn’t start my new job a matter of weeks before I did that I could be left in such a vulnerable situation.

"I have been able to get back to work but this is on reduced hours, meaning for the days I don’t work I’m left without money. This has been a very stressful time and I can only imagine how other people in this situation who may have less family and friends to support them are coping."