As the furlough scheme draws to a close today, we take a look at how many people in our area have been reliant on the scheme in the latter part of its run.

The latest figures, which run up to July 31 of this year, detail the amount of people still on the scheme both by number and percentage of the workforce.

The latest figures for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) show that there were 484,000 employers with 1.6 million staff on furlough on July 31, 2021, nationally.

This is a decrease of 340,000 jobs from June 30, when there were 1.9 million employees on furlough.

The CJRS was announced on March 20, 2020, where HMRC would cover 80 per cent of a furloughed employee’s wages, up to £2,500 per month.

The scheme was initially due to end in May 2020, but has remained in action until now in a bid to keep redundancies and unemployment lower than it otherwise might have been.

Herts had the highest uptake of furlough by percentage in the East of England, tied with Essex at six per cent. The region saw 140,500 people still on the scheme, a take up rate of around five per cent.

Of the 543,100 Herts residents eligible for government relief, 31,700 remained furloughed by July 31.

In Stevenage, 1,700, or four per cent of the working population - which stands at 42,400 people - were still on government job retention support.

In North Herts, five per cent of its 61,000-strong labour force, 2,900 people, furloughed at the end of July.

A similar picture was painted over the border in Central Beds, as 6,900 of the eligible 133,900 workforce - also five per cent - remained on the scheme.

Briege Leahy, chief executive officer of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The furlough scheme has been a godsend to many employers and employees across Hertfordshire and the UK, providing security during the COVID crisis.

"We must be mindful with the scheme ending at the end of September that not all businesses have fully recovered and are still in need of vital support.

"Industries such as travel and hospitality have been the hardest hit, which is a continuing worry until they are fully back to a position to paying their employees on a full-time basis.

"There is however in Hertfordshire, a steep rise in the number of job vacancies across the county. This presents an opportunity of alternative career opportunities for those who find themselves in a difficult situation.

"We are very lucky to have HOP to help those who need to change career post furlough.”

Rosie Waters, chief executive of Citizens Advice North Herts said: ‘We are concerned that the end of furlough may lead to redundancies. Worryingly, this comes at the same time as rising energy prices and the removal of the Universal Credit uplift.

"Therefore, it is likely that some North Hertfordshire residents will face real hardship over the coming months. If you are affected then please contact us.

"We can help with employment issues including making sure that redundancy is fair and that your redundancy pay is correct. We can also provide guidance and support with claiming benefits, managing money and energy problems.

"We don’t want anybody to be cold or hungry this winter."

You can contact Citizens Advice North Herts by calling 0800 144 88 48 or emailing via