At last some good news for the UK job market. According to the latest Office for National Statistics, only 292 British businesses made plans to cut jobs in January. This is the lowest figure since March 2020.

According to the report, there were a total of 32,000 redundancies reported, despite new lockdown rules closing businesses across most of the UK. The figures suggest that the decision to extend the furlough scheme has helped to prevent wider job losses.

January 2021 showed that, in total, 32,000 jobs were described as ‘at risk’, which is significantly lower than this time last year when the pandemic first struck. The job losses may seem high, but this comes despite two major lockdowns in the UK, which closed schools and many businesses, including restaurants, bars and retailers deemed “non-essential”.

Commenting on a BBC report, Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said “This new data seems to suggest that the extension of the furlough scheme from 31 October to 30 April has been effective in preventing job losses,”

Comparing the recent numbers to a reported 150,000 jobs lost this time last year, this latest news will be a welcome boost to Britain. However, these figures are only used as a guideline as individual employers often make fewer jobs redundant than they initially notify. Firms in Northern Ireland and are not included in the Insolvency Service figures.