UK reports highest share of businesses open since June 2020

FILE PHOTO: The City of London financial district can be seen as people walk along the south side of the River Thames, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain, March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – The proportion of British businesses that were open in the first half of May rose to its highest since June 2020 at 87%, up from 83% in the previous two-week period, as COVID restrictions lifted, official figures showed on Thursday.

The proportion of employees on furlough sank to 8%, equivalent to 2.1 million workers and the lowest since October, in line with an earlier provisional estimate.

“The scheme is naturally winding down as people get back to work and take advantage of the opportunities out there in the jobs market,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said after the data was released.

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