Local Scottish furlough figures show national jobs challenge

By July 29, 2020NEWS

Governments should roll-out extra help in event of local lockdowns

Employers in Highland, Perth and Kinross, Glasgow, South Ayrshire and Stirling council areas furloughed a larger share of workers than operators in other Scottish local authorities, according to HMRC statistics. However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland has highlighted that between 23 per cent and 34 per cent of eligible workers were furloughed across every Scottish council area.

Share of eligible workers furloughed by Scottish local authority Number of workers furloughed by Scottish local authority
    Employments furloughed Eligible employments Take-up rate     Employments furloughed Eligible employments Take-up rate
1 Highland 36,600 108,500 34% 1 Glasgow City 88,300 273,600 32%
2 Perth and Kinross 22,200 67,300 33% 2 City of Edinburgh 69,500 249,000 28%
3 Glasgow City 88,300 273,600 32% 3 North Lanarkshire 49,500 159,300 31%
4 South Ayrshire 14,500 45,800 32% 4 South Lanarkshire 46,400 150,300 31%
5 Stirling 12,700 40,300 32% 5 Fife 45,000 160,700 28%
6 East Ayrshire 16,100 52,600 31% 6 Highland 36,600 108,500 34%
7 Moray 12,900 42,100 31% 7 Aberdeenshire 34,500 125,400 27%
8 North Lanarkshire 49,500 159,300 31% 8 Aberdeen City 33,600 111,800 30%
9 Renfrewshire 26,800 85,100 31% 9 Renfrewshire 26,800 85,100 31%
10 South Lanarkshire 46,400 150,300 31% 10 West Lothian 26,000 88,400 29%
11 Aberdeen City 33,600 111,800 30% 11 Falkirk 22,300 75,500 30%
12 Falkirk 22,300 75,500 30% 12 Perth and Kinross 22,200 67,300 33%
13 West Dunbartonshire 12,400 41,900 30% 13 Dundee City 17,700 63,200 28%
14 Angus 14,700 50,500 29% 14 Dumfries and Galloway 17,400 60,400 29%
15 Argyll and Bute 10,400 36,200 29% 15 North Ayrshire 16,500 56,100 29%
16 Clackmannanshire 6,800 23,000 29% 16 East Ayrshire 16,100 52,600 31%
17 Dumfries and Galloway 17,400 60,400 29% 17 Angus 14,700 50,500 29%
18 East Lothian 14,400 49,000 29% 18 South Ayrshire 14,500 45,800 32%
19 North Ayrshire 16,500 56,100 29% 19 Scottish Borders 14,500 49,500 29%
20 Scottish Borders 14,500 49,500 29% 20 East Lothian 14,400 49,000 29%
21 West Lothian 26,000 88,400 29% 21 East Dunbartonshire 13,300 49,100 27%
22 Dundee City 17,700 63,200 28% 22 Moray 12,900 42,100 31%
23 East Renfrewshire 11,900 42,000 28% 23 Midlothian 12,900 45,900 28%
24 City of Edinburgh 69,500 249,000 28% 24 Stirling 12,700 40,300 32%
25 Fife 45,000 160,700 28% 25 West Dunbartonshire 12,400 41,900 30%
26 Midlothian 12,900 45,900 28% 26 East Renfrewshire 11,900 42,000 28%
27 Aberdeenshire 34,500 125,400 27% 27 Argyll and Bute 10,400 36,200 29%
28 East Dunbartonshire 13,300 49,100 27% 28 Inverclyde 8,300 34,000 24%
29 Orkney Islands 2,800 10,400 26% 29 Clackmannanshire 6,800 23,000 29%
30 Shetland Islands 3,100 12,300 25% 30 Shetland Islands 3,100 12,300 25%
31 Inverclyde 8,300 34,000 24% 31 Na h-Eileanan Siar 2,900 12,100 23%
32 Na h-Eileanan Siar 2,900 12,100 23% 32 Orkney Islands 2,800 10,400 26%

Across Scotland, 736,500 people were furloughed or about 30 per cent of the workers that were eligible for the scheme. By comparison, 7,600,900 people were furloughed in England, which again represents about 30% of eligible workers.

The small business campaign group says that these figures show that almost every community across Scotland will face employment challenges, if the economy doesn’t get moving and employers aren’t able to bring staff back. FSB wants governments in Edinburgh and London to ensure new plans to create and save jobs recognise that smaller businesses are critical to their success.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Employers in our big cities, small towns and rural areas alike have taken advantage of the UK Government’s furlough scheme. Similarly, firms across the country have benefitted from the Scottish Government’s coronavirus support initiatives.

“While these lifeline schemes are imperfect – and we still look for policymakers to close gaps where they exist – they undoubtedly saved many firms and jobs during the difficult months of spring and summer 2020. But there is a long way to go and we are seeing a jobs crisis unfold before our eyes.

“After the last crash, nine in ten unemployed people that re-joined the workforce did so via a small business or through self-employment. We want governments in Edinburgh and London to give these operators the tools to play their part in the recovery.

“That’s why any new jobs guarantee – as recommended by the Higgins review – must put smaller firms at its centre. And as the Chancellor considers spending moves to power the recovery, he could do worse than reducing employers’ national insurance contributions to make it easier for firms to take on and retain workers.”

In addition, as the furlough scheme begins to wind down, the small business campaign group has warned that governments may need to roll-out new help for smaller firms in the event of local lockdowns north of the border. FSB has sent a report to Scottish Government officials outlining ways to minimise the impact of a local lockdown, based on the experience of Leicester.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “This has been the worst year for smaller businesses in living memory and many operators are running on fumes. If a local lockdown takes place somewhere in Scotland, then it’ll likely be the end for many independent businesses in that area. That’s why we’re pressing for the UK Government and the Scottish Government to roll-out fresh support for businesses if firms are forced to close again.”