Number of construction workers on job retention scheme has fallen 73% from peak

Construction firms have claimed just under £1.2bn for furloughed staff over six months to April this year, government data has revealed.


The sector also made £1.9bn of claims through the self-employment income support scheme

While still a significant sum for a supposedly booming sector, the figures represent a steep fall from the first wave of the pandemic when construction received £3.7bn for the six months to September 2020. 

HMRC’s statistics also show that construction’s latest £1.18bn in claims compares favourably with hard-hit sectors such as retail and hospitality which received £3.7bn and £5.06bn respectively in same period between November 2020 and April this year.

Provisional figures revealed that 30% of construction companies, or 72,800 firms, were still using the scheme on 30 April. This translates to 166,600 workers, or 13% of the overall sector’s workforce, being on the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

HMRC also confirmed that construction’s furlough numbers peaked on 14 April last year with 723,600 people placed on the scheme.

This had fallen to 198,300 at 31 March this year - a reduction of 73%.

At the end of March confirmed figurs show 83,600 firms or 35% of the industry were still using the scheme.

Across the whole economy the statistics showed that the number of furloughed jobs in the UK fell from 4.3 million on the last day of March this year to 3.4 million at the end of April. 

Meanwhile, those working in the construction sector have also made the most claims through the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS).

According to the data, the construction industry has the largest number - 1.2 million - individuals who were assessed for potential eligibility and more than 1 million of these deemded potentially eligible.

By 9 May construction workers had made 555,000 claims totalling £1.9bn; an average of £3,500 per claimant.

Individuals working in the construction industry account for the highest proportion of claims in every country and region of the UK.

London has the highest proportion, with 40% of claims being from those working in construction and Scotland has the lowest with 26% coming from the sector.

The next update is due to be published on 1 July, with the CJRS and SEISS due to come to an end on 30 September.