MORE than a quarter of a million workers across the county called on the Government to pay their wages since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown.

Figures released by the HMRC reveal the staggering numbers who have been placed on furlough or been given payments to cover their self-employed incomes in Sussex.

It also shows the scale of the challenge to get the economy going and people back to work after the coronavirus lockdown.

HMRC said there were more than 33,000 workers in Brighton and Hove on the furlough scheme and a further 13,800 people claiming help to cover their lost incomes as self-employed workers.

On average 70 per cent of those entitled to self-employed help have made claims, with a national average of £2,900.

In East Sussex there have been nearly 59,000 workers on furlough and more than 26,000 claiming self-employed support. The figure for West Sussex was far higher, with nearly 108,000 workers on furlough and 35,000 self-employed workers claiming help.

The figures show there are 20,000 people on the job retention scheme in Crawley, 18,000 across Mid Sussex includings towns like Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath, and more than 17,400 in Horsham.

It reflects fears over the future of the airline industry at Gatwick, with uncertainty over tens of thousands of jobs.

Meanwhile there have been 15,000 payments to people in Eastbourne, 14,000 in Hastings, and 12,000 in Worthing.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our unprecedented coronavirus support schemes are protecting millions of vital jobs and businesses and will help ensure we recover from this outbreak as swiftly as possible.

“We have extended both schemes so they will continue to provide measured support across the UK as we start to reopen the economy.”

The scheme for job retention and the self-employed will continue until October but employers will be gradually asked to pay more.