ONE million jobs are at risk as companies continue to struggle because of Covid.
Around one in every 16 businesses is at risk of closing over the next three months a new survey has found.
The confidence of business owners has improved and is now at its highest since September 2020, according to research by the London School of Economics.
But some remain in trouble despite lockdown restrictions lifting and rate themselves as having little or no chance of surviving.
It comes as furlough is due to end on 30 September after supporting millions of jobs through the pandemic.
The government wage support scheme is in its final stages after companies started shouldering more of the burden this summer
The scheme continues to support 80% of wages for staff, but the amount firms contribute was 10% from July and then 20% from August.
The wind down of the scheme along with the potential for new variants and local spikes in infection rates could create a “quite volatile” period at the end of the year, according to the researchers.
The number of Brits on furlough is 1.9million – 3million fewer than in March.
The end of furlough comes at the same time as a £20 a week cut to Universal Credit for millions of Brits.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who founded the Alliance for Full Employment told The Guardian “a new jobs crisis point is approaching as furlough ends”.
Peter Lambert, a researcher at the LSE, told the newspaper the end of the scheme would be an “inflection point” and that there would need to be specific support for some sectors still struggling.
Unions have called for the furlough scheme to be made permanent in case there are future shocks to the economy.
The UK economy grew by 1% in June despite the delay to easing lockdown restrictions.
The latest unemployment data is due to be published tomorrow (August 17) and is expected to see the number of jobless fall to 4.4% from 4.7% for June.