There has been a significant rise in the number of workers furloughed in the transport and logistics sector this year, with 187,600 people on furlough at the end of January.

With the furlough scheme now extended until September, new HMRC data shows an 18% increase in headcount for furloughed transport employees. In comparison to the 159,400 furloughed in December 2020, the third national lockdown has meant a steep increase in figures for the transport industry.

The data, analysed by Employment Lawyers at Richard Nelson LLP, found over one-third (39%) of transport employers used the furlough scheme in January 2021, up from 335 in December last year.

When comparing the transport sector to other industries, Richard Nelson LLP found the percentage of furloughed employees in the retail and construction industries had increased more than the transport sector this year.

December 2020

January 2021

Increase

Construction

195,100

244,100

25.12%

Manufacturing

274,500

312,800

13.95%

Wholesale and retail

714,400

938,500

31.37%

Transportation and storage

159,400

187,600

17.69%

Commenting on the research, Jayne Harrison, Head of Employment Law at Richard Nelson LLP said:

“The transport industry has been advised by the government to continue operating as normal, with the necessary COVID-secure measures in place. For workers who cannot return to their job role or who are not currently needed because of reduced demand, the furlough scheme has kept them employed and meant they are not adding to rising unemployment in the UK.

“We are expecting for the furlough scheme to be extended today with the announcement of the chancellor’s budget. For transport and logistics firms, this will help to ease the anxiety and uncertainty over the next few months and allow for companies to plan better for the future. We predict that as lockdown continues to ease, these figures will begin to decline as more workers are needed back in at their posts.”