Firms brought back almost three-quarters of staff on job retention scheme by 31 August

Construction companies brought their staff back from furlough faster than those in virtually any other sector, new figures have revealed.

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Preliminary figures from HMRC for the sector show 290,800 staff furloughed at 31 July and 185,700 furloughed at 31 August. Numbers peaked for the industry on 14 April with 723,600 employees on the job retention scheme. 

This was the third largest proportionate decrease in the period across all sectors at 74%, except for energy production and supply and mining and quarrying, but these sectors had far fewer on the scheme.

Construction employers made claims worth £3.5bn to the end of August, with 72,100 firms in the sector, or 31%, making use of the scheme.

As of 31 August 45,700 people were partially furloughed, while 138,600 were still fully furloughed.

Analysis showed that as of 31 August, 93% of construction workers who had been previously furloughed were still on their firm’s payroll.

This was the best of any sector except for public administration, defence and social security.

Meanwhile, the figures for the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) reavealed the sector with the highest number of potentially eligible individuals and the highest proportion of claims was construction.

By 30 September, construction workers had made 772,000 claims for SEISS totalling £2.4bn.

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%.