Around one-third of eligible hospitality staff remained on furlough at the end of May 2021, new figures show.
According to the latest Treasury figures, 34% of accommodation and foodservice workers were still being supported by the scheme last month. This was despite restrictions easing to allow restaurants, hotels and pubs to reopen for outdoor and indoor service across the UK.
The accommodation and foodservice sector peaked at 1.65 million furloughed staff on 10 April 2020. This fell to 987,800 on 30 April 2021 and 589,500 by 31 May 2021. An estimated 398,300 hospitality staff came off furlough in May, the largest reduction of any industry.
However, the sector still had the highest proportion of employees supported by the scheme at the end of the month, followed by the arts, entertainment and recreation industry with 29%.
Accommodation and foodservice employers claimed £398m through furlough from 1 May to 31 May this year.
Until this month the scheme has seen the government pay 80% of an employees wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. But from 1 July government contributions will drop to 70% and will reduce to 60% for August and September, with employers required to cover the difference.
This has caused some hospitality owners to warn support is being cut off too early, with businesses struggling to meet extra payments.
However, others have blamed the furlough scheme for contributing to current staff shortages and limiting the pool of potential applicants.
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