Almost one in three working adults in the borough of Bexley have received income support from the Government during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.

Statistics released by HM Revenue and Customs show that since April 37,100 wages in the borough have been paid by the Government, either through the furlough scheme or measures to support the self-employed.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there was 122,000 workers in Bexley aged over 16 at the end of 2019 – meaning almost a third of those employed in the borough received financial aid from the Government since the coronavirus brought business to a screeching halt in the country.

With the midway point of June seeing many businesses in the borough reopen their doors for the first time in months, Cllr Louie French, the deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for growth, urged residents to support local businesses.

“The global pandemic has evidently had a dramatic impact on people’s lives and we are extremely grateful for the various government support packages that have helped local businesses and individuals,” he said.

“However, we all have a role to play in supporting local businesses and jobs as our local economy re-opens. If you can, please shop local.”

As of May 31, businesses have furloughed 26,600 jobs in Bexley since the Government rolled out their support scheme in April.

It was announced last month the support would run until the end of October.

A similar support-scheme for the self-employed was rolled out in May and has financially supported 10,500 individuals in Bexley, with £34,500,000 in grants paid out in the process.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced at the end of last month support for the self-employed would be extended as well until August.

“The UK Government is doing everything we can to protect jobs and businesses in London and across the UK during the crisis,” the Chancellor said of the schemes last week.

“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.”