The UK Government has paid the wages of more than 80,000 north-east workers under schemes set up to provide financial support during lockown.
New figures released today show that 82,200 people from across the region were supported under the job retention and self-employment income support schemes.
The two initiatives are run by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Businesses have furloughed 69,100 jobs in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray, up to May 31 2020, since the job retention scheme was launched on April 20.
The move will help UK employers who have been severely affected by coronavirus to retain their employees.
An announcement was made on May 12 that the scheme will run until the end of October to continue the support for jobs and businesses as people return to work.
The self-employment income support scheme was rolled out ahead of schedule in May and has financially supported 13,100 self-employed individuals in the north-east who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak and paid grants worth a total of £41.2 million up to May 31 2020.
On 29 May 2020, the Chancellor announced an extension to the programme. Those eligible to claim the SEISS grant will be able to claim a second and final grant in August of up to £6,750.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “The UK Government is doing everything we can to protect jobs and businesses in Scotland and across the UK during the crisis.
“Our unprecedented job retention and self-employment support schemes have supported the livelihoods of millions and will help ensure our recovery is as swift as possible.”
Scottish minister David Duguid said: “The UK Government’s direct coronavirus support to people and businesses in the north-east has meant that 69,100 workers have been furloughed, and £41.2 million has been spent on supporting 13,100 local self-employed people.
“The north-east has also benefited from the UK-wide schemes which support individuals and businesses, including Universal Credit.
“This direct cash comes on top of an additional £3.8 billion in extra funding for the Scottish Government through the Barnett Formula.
“The UK Government is doing whatever it takes to get all parts of Scotland through the coronavirus pandemic and ensure our economy can get back on track as we recover.”
Nearly 900,000 jobs across Scotland have been safeguarded by the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the new UK Government figures.
Statistics show the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme furloughed 736,500 Scottish workers up to the end of June – 29.8% of all eligible jobs.
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “There’s been an unprecedented level of stimulus packages made available since the start of the outbreak.
“The numbers are staggering with 9.3 million jobs protected across the UK at a cost of £29bn, a further 2.6 million claiming from the self-employed scheme; and £40bn give out in government loan schemes, including £900m from the Scottish Government via the Business Support Fund.
“Despite this, many are facing a stark reality. The chamber network’s recent Quarterly Economic Survey shows that business activity has reduced or ceased entirely for the majority of firms in this quarter and almost all of our key economic survey indicators are at the lowest level on record.
“While 66% of firms report worsening cash flow and low recruitment, workforce figures are better than they were during the global economic downturn which tells us the Jobs Retention Scheme has limited the scale of the impact for many business.
“This sets out just how important it is that we rebuild consumer confidence and demand. If people don’t want to go places and buy things there is a real danger that many of our local businesses simply won’t recover.
“We need to get our economy moving again because a strong regional economy is not just important for business owners, it’s vital for all of us.”