Swindon is less reliant on the government's furlough scheme than almost anywhere else in the UK, new statistics reveal.
Figures released by HMRC show that just nine percent of eligible jobs are covered by the scheme – compared to a UK average of 12 percent.
In the month ending December 31, the last date for which figures are available, 11,200 jobs were protected by the furlough scheme in Swindon.
In Wiltshire, the figure was a little higher at 10 percent (22,200 jobs) but still below the England average.
In Oxford, 10 percent of employees are furloughed. In Bristol, 11 percent are on furlough, and in Bath 12 percent are covered by the scheme.
In some parts of the UK, one-in-five workers are currently furloughed, while in the Scottish highlands the tally plummets – just five percent of workers in the Shetland Islands are furloughed.
The figures show that women in Swindon were slightly more likely to be furloughed than men, at 10 percent. The same is true in Wiltshire, where ten percent of women and nine percent of men were furloughed.
By sector, employees in accommodation and food services are most likely to be furloughed (47 percent) closely followed by those working in the arts, entertainment and recreation (41 percent).
The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme scheme was launched to pay 80 percent of the wages – up to £2,500 per month – of employees whose employers were unable to operate because of the pandemic.
It is due to end on April 30 – however, the scheme has been extended several times since it was announced in March last year.
It was originally intended to see employees through until June. Then it was extended until October. And finally it was extended until the end of April this year.