THE proportion of jobs furloughed in Barrow was among the lowest in the UK in August, figures show – before the scheme ended last month.

The figures come as a new report warns that over-50s made redundant following the end of furlough could see themselves locked out of work by ageism.

The latest data from HM Revenue and Customs shows 700 jobs held by workers living in Barrow were furloughed as of August 31 – two per cent of all that were eligible.

That was 200 fewer than the 900 at the end of July, when three per cent of jobs were furloughed.

The furlough rate in Barrow was among the lowest in the UK in August.

It was also 5,600 fewer than in May 2020, when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was at its peak across the UK.

Between mid-May last year and August this year, the number of jobs furloughed nationally has fallen from 8.9 million to just 1.3 million – with 260,000 coming off the scheme in the last month.

From August 1, employers had to contribute 20 per cent of employees’ wages up to £625, with the Government contributing 60 per cent, up to £1,875.

The Resolution Foundation said it is highly likely that around 1 million workers were still furloughed when the scheme closed at the end of September.

Dan Tomlinson, senior economist at the think tank, said: "Low earners, older workers and people working in sectors like overseas travel are the most likely to have been furloughed, and therefore face the greatest risk of unemployment right now.

"The Government has rightly announced further funding to assist their job searching, but is wrong to have cut unemployment support by £20 a week.”

The Centre for Ageing Better said the latest UK labour market figures showed that 355,000 over-50s are unemployed, with 31,000 having been made redundant between May and July.

It added more than a third of 50 to 70-year-olds surveyed across the UK last summer felt at a disadvantage in applying for jobs due to their age.

In Barrow, 280 people aged 50 and over were on furlough at the end of August – down from 350 a month previously.

By comparison, there were just 140 workers aged under 30 still on the scheme at this time.