THERE were 1,000 fewer workers in Bracknell Forest on furlough in March, as the UK started to recover from the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest statistics – which reveal the situation before pubs and non-essential shops opened for the first time in months – show that millions of people nationally were still on the income support scheme as of March 31.

HM Revenue and Customs data shows around 8,400 jobs held by workers living in Bracknell Forest were furloughed then.

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That was 1,200 fewer than the 9,600 furloughed at the end of February, and lower than 9,800 in January.

Women in Bracknell Forest were more likely to be furloughed than men, with a take-up rate of 15%, compared to 13%.

By the end of March, roughly 23,000 jobs had been supported by the scheme at any point since its inception, the figures show.

Jobs at firms which are unable to operate or have no work for their employees during the pandemic are eligible for furlough pay from the Government – with workers currently getting 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.

The scheme has been extended until the end of September – beyond the planned reopening of all areas of the economy on June 21 – and employers will have to pay a higher contribution from July.

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Across the UK, 4.2 million jobs were furloughed as of March 31, down from 4.7 million a month before.

The latest figures do not cover the further easing of lockdown in April, which saw customers flood back to salons, gyms, pub gardens and non-essential shops across the UK.

Around 1,770 hospitality jobs held by workers in Bracknell Forest were furloughed as of March 31 – 21% of all jobs.

That was the largest proportion of all sectors, followed by wholesale and retail, and motor vehicle repair services (19%).

Across the UK, 1.1 million jobs in the accommodation and food services sector were furloughed in March.