Companies return £ 1.3bn in cash on leave
UK businesses have returned £ 1.3bn ($ 1.8bn) of the nearly £ 14bn spent per month on the leave program, with the post-pandemic reopening boosting spending.
Figures released today show companies that have over-demanded or decided they no longer need payments received through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have returned £ 300million in the past three months.
In total, the companies have reimbursed HMRC £ 1.3bn since July 2020 through claims adjustments and the voluntary disclosure service, which will continue until 2022.
To concern: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?
HMRC said it was cracking down on those who fraudulently requested leave through its 1,250-strong Taxpayer Protection Working Group.
With businesses reopening and employment increasing to near pre-pandemic levels thanks to the successful roll-out of the vaccination program, the number of people on leave has now fallen to an all-time high of 1.6 million.
About 340,000 people left the program in July, more than a third of whom are between 18 and 34 years old.
Read more: UK COVID rebound stops amid recruitment and supply chain issues
The leave program has protected nearly 12 million jobs and supported over 1.3 million businesses, with 910,000 jobs protected in Scotland, 470,000 jobs in Wales and 280,000 jobs in Northern Ireland, ensuring livelihoods in UK communities.
The news comes on the heels of ONS data which showed UK public sector borrowing hit their second highest August level on record.
Public sector net borrowing (excluding public sector banks, excluding PSNB) was estimated at £ 20.5 billion in August 2021, down £ 5.5 billion from August 2020.
Meanwhile, central government revenue in August 2021 was estimated at £ 61.2 billion, up £ 5.3 billion from August 2020. Central government agencies spent £ 79.6 billion pounds sterling in August 2021, down £ 1 billion from August 2020.
It also comes in the midst of an employment boom in the UK. Last week it was revealed that there were 1,034,000 job vacancies in the UK between June and August, a record as the UK economy opens up following extended shutdowns in the event of a pandemic.
Read more: London lags behind the rest of Britain in UK jobs boom
This is accompanied by data showing that 13% of all companies said it was more difficult to fill vacancies than usual (up from 9% in August).
The data also showed that recruiting was the most difficult among hotel companies, where 30% find it difficult to recruit, followed by the water industry (27%) and healthcare (23%).
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