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Fall in furlough numbers means demand for IT software licences increases

10 August 2021

In June, the number of furloughed workers within the UK fell below 2 million for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to a massive increase in demand for licences for IT software such as Sage.

Sage software specialists, Onesys, have analysed the latest government data relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The data reveals that, as of 30 June 2021, 1.9 million UK employees were being paid through the CJRS. Although 1.9 million UK employees remain on furlough, this figure is considerably lower than the previous month’s figures.

In May 2021, 2.4 million employments were being paid through the CJRS, signifying half a million workers were recalled back to work in the 4-week period between May and June. The reduction in furloughed workers is good news for the UK economy as it means more businesses are trading at a level that allows them to reintroduce employees into viable jobs, reducing unemployment figures within the UK. In further good news for the British economy, both May and June’s statistics are significantly lower than the figures from 2020.

On 8 May 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, 8.9 million UK workers were being paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, putting a huge strain on the UK economy. In relation, June 2021’s figures are 78.65% lower than May 2020. Furthermore, it is expected that the number of furloughed workers will once again drop dramatically in the coming weeks due to lockdown restrictions being lifted on 19th July.

In July, businesses in all sectors were allowed to reopen at full capacity, including nightclubs, which opened for the first time since March 2020. This will allow struggling nightclub owners to reopen their venues, recall staff and help boost the UK economy. Indeed, the latest government data shows that some of the largest furlough claimants operate within hospitality divisions such as pubs, bars and nightclubs.

Other industries that have been especially hard hit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic include travel and retail. Between December 2020 and April 2021, over 900,000 UK businesses claimed through the CJRS and of the top 30 claimants, 22 businesses worked within either the hospitality, travel or retail sectors. Some of the largest claimants include Mitchells & Butlers Ltd, one of the largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK, British Airways PLC, J D Wetherspoon PLC, TUI UK Ltd, Primark Stores Ltd and Next Retail Ltd. Other key findings from the latest government CJRS data: - Since the start of the CJRS, a cumulative total of 11.6 million jobs have been supported by the scheme. - The number of employees on furlough has decreased from 3.5 million on 30 April 2021 to 1.9 million on 30 June 2021.

On 30 June, provisional figures show that 28% of employers had staff on furlough, down from 30% on 31 May 2021. - By the end of June 2021, 6% of workers eligible for furlough were on furlough. - 9 of the 10 local authorities with the highest furlough take-up rates on 30 June 2021 were in London. These include Newham (12%), Hounslow (12%), Barnet (11%) and Brent (11%). The recent reduction in furloughed workers has meant that UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 0.8% in May 2021, the fourth consecutive month of growth. In turn, this means many UK businesses have been reinvesting in their IT software packages to accommodate their increased workload and to keep their operations running smoothly.

Laurie Pottage, Sales Director of Onesys, explains: “It’s great to see the UK economy bouncing back from the effects of COVID-19. This has led to a huge uptake in businesses investing in their IT software licensing. We’ve experienced numerous clients migrating from Sage 50 to Sage 200 as their workforce and operational needs surpass the capabilities of Sage 50. It’s great news for us at Onesys and for the UK economy in general.”

*All Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme related data used in this release can be found here: ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme statistics: 29 July 2021’ and ‘Employers who have claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’.

**All GDP related data used in this release can be found here:

About Onesys Now the fastest growing reseller of Sage software, Onesys provide cost-effective off-the-shelf software packages for SMEs and highly customised solutions to meet the business needs of large, established businesses.

Onesys have successfully supplied and supported software solutions for clients such as The Bank of England, Procter & Gamble, DEFRA and PwC. Onesys also provide software solutions for businesses that distribute Metropolitan police uniforms and allocate materials for Jaguar cars. By focusing on exemplary customer service, Onesys have become a Sage Platinum Partner as well as a Sage Strategic Partner, recognising the breadth of Onesys’ knowledge, experience, and dedication to providing outstanding Sage support.