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Moray job furlough numbers almost double as new coronavirus lockdown bites

By Alan Beresford

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THE number of jobs in Moray relying on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has nearly doubled, newly released figures indicate.

Provisional statistics published by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for last December show that some 4100 people in Moray were furloughed under the job retention scheme, 10 per cent of those eligible.

However, this marks a steep rise from November when 2400 (six per cent) were relying on the scheme to pay their wages.

The continued support from the UK government scheme was welcomed by Scottish Conservative Party leader and Moray MP Douglas Ross and Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston.

Mr Ross stressed that the figures showed the importance of the UK Treasury input into saving jobs.

He said: "These figures clearly show the ongoing benefits of the UK government furlough scheme in supporting jobs and livelihoods here in Moray.

"There were over 4000 staff furloughed at the end of the year, which was a substantial increase from November. This will be due to the re-imposition of lockdown for mainland Scotland on Boxing Day, but it equates to one in every 10 jobs here in Moray.

"And £4.7 million in cash has been paid out to people in Moray under the self-employment income support scheme.

"The strength of the UK Treasury has never been more apparent than during this pandemic. Billions have been paid out to ensure that as many jobs as possible are protected here in Moray and across Scotland."

Mr Halcro Johnston praised the "extraordinary commitment" being shown by the government to protecting jobs throughout the pandemic.

He continue: “The latest figures indicate that over 4100 people across Moray alone are being supported by the UK government’s furloughing scheme, with many others in self-employment also receiving support.

“This is a quite extraordinary commitment which, as well as providing financial security for many households in Moray during the pandemic, is helping to protect thousands of jobs which might otherwise be lost.”

The HMRC statistics also revealed that there were 112,000 applications in Scotland for the third grant under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, with £315 million paid out. Of the total applications submitted, 63 per cent were deemed eligible.

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