NEARLY 34,000 workers in Bolton have been furloughed during the coronavirus crisis, Government figures have revealed.

Statistics released by HM Revenue and Customs has shown that a total of 33,900 staff in the town have been paid through the job retention scheme that was set up to support employees amid the lockdown.

Across Greater Manchester, 326,800 workers have been supported by the Government's support package.

Only London and the south east are above the north west in terms of the number of claims made. Nationally, more than 6.4m staff have been furloughed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has spoken about the "unprecedented" support that the scheme has offered to people.

He said: “The UK Government is doing everything we can to protect jobs and businesses in the North West and across the UK during the crisis.

“Our unprecedented job retention and self-employment support schemes have supported the livelihoods of millions and will help ensure our recovery is as swift as possible.”

The data, which was released this week, includes claims made up until Sunday, May 31.

The scheme was rolled out to support employers through the COVID-19 period, works by providing grants to employers to of up to maximum of 80 per cent of salary to a maximum value of £2,500 per employee.

The scheme will close to new entrants from June 30.

From this point onwards, companies will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period before the end of June.