THE number of workers on furlough has fallen across Wyre Forest, according to new research from HM Revenue and Customs.

Figures show that at the end of March, 6,000 people were on furlough compared to 4,800 people at the end of April.

This is due to the reopening of pubs, restaurants and shop workers returning to their roles in April as outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail opened for the first time since December.

Indoor service did not return until May, so its impact will not be seen in these figures.

Latest figures also show 930 people are on furlough from the retail sector, 450 people from the arts and entertainment sector and 1,090 people from hospitality.

Through the scheme, the government pays 80% of a worker’s wages, up to £2,500 per month, if they haven’t been able to work due to the impact of the pandemic.

However, employers will pay a larger contribution from July.

Across the UK, the total number of jobs furloughed fell by 900,000 during April to 3.4 million at the end of the month.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “We’ll continue to support those who need it through to September but I am hopeful that we’ll see more people moving back into work as we continue on the road to recovery.”

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the government was “open-minded” about the possibility of extending furlough past September and that the furlough scheme had been a huge success.

Separate HMRC figures show 4,300 self-employed workers in Wyre Forest have received government cash since the self-employment income support scheme started.

The total value of the claims made across the area stood at £34.7 million by May 9.