Fears of mass job cuts as the furlough scheme closed have not so far materialised, government figures have suggested.
The number of redundancies proposed by employers in September was almost the lowest on record, according to Insolvency Service data, despite concerns from unions and business groups that the withdrawal of the furlough scheme on 30 September would spark job cuts.
In September, 204 employers informed the government about plans to make 13,836 redundancies.
This was a slight increase in the figure recorded in August 2021, when 201 employers planned to cull 12,687 jobs, but well below the peak of job losses seen in summer 2020.
However, the true number of redundancies made is likely to be different, as only employers who plan cut 20 or more jobs are obliged to inform the Insolvency Service.
Employers are required to notify the government department at least 30 days before the first dismissal where 20 to 99 redundancies are proposed, and at least 45 days before the first dismissal where 100 or more redundancies are proposed.
They must submit an HR1 form to the Insolvency Service, informing it about how many staff they are consulting with about potential redundancy.
Tony Wilson, director of the Institute of Employment Studies, told the BBC that the worst period for job losses during the pandemic was “well and truly behind us” because estimates of actual redundancies and online searches related to redundancy were both lower than before Covid-19 hit.
Trade unions including Community, CWU, GMB, Prospect, Unite and Usdaw told the BBC they had not received news of any major redundancies among their members since the furlough scheme was withdrawn.
Last week the Office for National Statistics revealed that one in four employees had been furloughed at some point since March 2019. Roughly one million people remained on furlough as the scheme ended.
Eight per cent of people who have been furloughed were no longer employed in the three months to June 2021.