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Council claimed close to £1.5million from Job Retention Scheme

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council claimed almost £1.5m from the furlough scheme, it has been confirmed.

The British government backed scheme, officially known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, first introduced in March 2020, paid 80 per cent of the wages of those who couldn’t work, or those whose employers could no longer pay them, up to a monthly limit of £2,500.

It was originally due to close on October 31, 2020, but with the rising number of Covid-19 cases last winter, the scheme was extended until September 30, 2021.

In July 2021, the 80 per cent figure was reduced to 70 per cent and in August, it was reduced to 60 per cent with employers paying up to 20 per cent.

With the scheme coming to a close at the end of September, a spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said Council received £1,477,842 from the scheme and confirmed Council staff furloughed were paid in full.

“Council can confirm it claimed £1,477,842 from HMRC for the furlough scheme from March 2020 to June 2021,” said a council spokesperson.

“This covered wage claims for 477 employees furloughed during the period March 19, 2020 – July 31, 2020.

“Between February 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021, 44 employees were furloughed.

“Furlough was at 100 per cent of salary.”

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