Nationally, it has been reported that over 9 million people have been supported by the furloughing scheme at a cost to the government of over £30 billion and rising. That is the national picture. Here at JLP, where all of our clients are small businesses employing less than 50 people, we have seen a different picture, with the numbers of staff our clients were furloughing declining over time rather than growing.
With our Clients, the Numbers of Furloughed Staff have Fallen in Some Cases
We have seen the number of staff furloughed each month by some of our clients fall as many of them have found ways to keep trading as time has progressed. It has not been a consistent picture. Some business owners have been able to change their business model, and these are the ones that have tended to be able to continue to trade – and therefore have needed to furlough less. Others simply haven’t been able to, not least because they needed their materials and suppliers have been unable to deliver in some cases due to their staff being furloughed. It has been a very difficult time.
One thing we have seen is how businesses have used the furlough scheme as it is intended to be used, with staff very quickly coming off furlough once they have started trading again. The figures make interesting reading – and apply to our clients only.
- When the scheme started, about 2/3rds of our clients’ employees were furloughed. For some, this bought them time to determine how to manage their business and what changes they needed to make to continue to trade during the unprecedented lockdown conditions.
By the end of June, this figure was down to under 40%, as employees started to come off furlough and return to work. Still a high number, but we have seen it continue to fall in July.
Just to repeat that this is only what we have seen amongst our clients, but it does show that small businesses are able to adapt to a very challenging environment.