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Fears that the end of the furlough scheme would lead to rising unemployment have proved groundless.

It is, of course, early days. There are still only flash estimates of what happened in October once the Treasury’s wage subsidies had come to an end but the signs are promising.

But rather than the expected surge in redundancies as firms had to cope without government financial support, there was a 160,000 rise in the number of payrolled employees. In the three months from August to October the number of job vacancies hit a new record of close to 1.2m – up almost 400,000 on the pre-pandemic level.

The Office for National Statistics said in the July to September period – the months leading up to the scrapping of the furlough – the number of people moving from job to job was higher than ever before, but this was the result of choice rather than people being forced to move because they had been dismissed.

Rishi Sunak…

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