Which High-Growth Companies Have Furloughed Staff?

| Hannah Skingle

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been in place since March 2020, introduced to support businesses that are significantly impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, and the people they employ. 

The scheme allows employers to furlough their staff and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their wages whilst they’re not working or (since July 2020) working reduced hours due to the pandemic. The furlough scheme was originally scheduled to end in June 2020 but, five extensions later, the end date is now set for September 2021. 

As of 14 May 2021, a total of 11.5m unique jobs have been supported by the scheme, amounting to £64b worth of public money. Now, the Government is starting to report aggregate data on the scheme’s impact, including the age, gender, and location of employees that have benefited.

The Government has also been publishing the names of companies that have claimed—as well as how much these businesses have drawn down each month, within 11 range categories. This is updated monthly, covering claims made up to two months before the date of publication. This data can now be accessed on the Beauhurst platform, by viewing each company’s claims on their profile page, and searching across businesses that have claimed support each month since December 2020. 

The Beauhurst platform has data on all 34k high-growth companies in the UK, plus a further 11m companies if you have access to our All Company Data add-on. This allows you to better qualify leads, carry out due diligence and understand how different sectors or regions have been impacted by the pandemic.

Statistics on the high-growth companies claiming through the furlough scheme 

We’ve taken a closer look at how high-growth UK companies made use of the Government’s furlough scheme, between December 2020 and March 2021. Our data shows that companies in the high-growth subset of UK businesses have been consistently less likely to claim through the scheme than their peers.  

As of 31 March 2021, 39% of all employers across the UK had staff on furlough via the scheme, down from 41% in January and February. But for high-growth companies across the UK, that figure stands at 29%—with just over 10k businesses claiming through the scheme in March 2021—down from 31% in January and February.

High-growth companies based in Wales, the East Midlands, and the North East were the most likely to have claimed through the scheme in March (35%), whilst those in London were the least likely (25%).

Furlough data by region

Female-founded businesses are disproportionately represented in sectors that were more likely to claim through the schememaking up 30% of high-growth Leisure and Entertainment businesses (44% of which claimed in March) and 58% of craft industries (37% of which claimed in March), compared to just 26% across all high-growth businesses. 

Despite this, there was just a single point difference between the proportion of female and male-founded businesses claiming through the scheme in March. 28% of ambitious female-founded businesses claimed, compared with 27% of those founded by men.

Which high-growth company claimed the most from the scheme between December 2020 and March 2021? Scaleup business The Ivy Collection, which runs a range of restaurants across the UK, claimed between £1m and £2.5m in December 2020, and between £2.5m and £5m in each of January, February, and March 2021. 

The only other high-growth company to have hit this latter bracket is UK-wide fashion retailer River Island which claimed between £250k and £500k in December 2020, £2.5m and £5m in January 2021, and £1m to £2.5m in February and March 2021. 

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