Coronavirus  

More than £11bn claimed on govt's furlough scheme

More than £11bn claimed on govt's furlough scheme

The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has paid out more than £11bn since its launch last month, with eight million jobs now furloughed in the UK as a result of the pandemic. 

The scheme, which offers cash grants to employers that furloughed employees as a result of the pandemic and associated lockdown, was recently extended by four months until the end of October.

While the government currently covers up to 80 per cent of an employee's regular wages, from July employers will be asked to begin sharing this financial responsibility. 

In an update published today (May 19) the Treasury also revealed its Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, designed to help viable small and medium businesses weather the coronavirus storm, had so far approved more than 40,500 loans worth £7.25bn.

Meanwhile the recently-introduced 100 per cent government-backed loan scheme has already approved more than 464,000 loans worth £14.2bn since its launch at the beginning of the month.  

This Bounce Back Loans scheme is intended to help the smallest of businesses with loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, which will remain interest free for a year. 

The government has backed the scheme as a fast-track option, hoping small firms that need "a vital cash injection to keep operating" can get finance in as little as 24 hours. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Our plan to support businesses and individuals is one of the most comprehensive in the world.

"As these figures show, we are currently supporting millions of workers and businesses through these tough times so we can recover as quickly as possible."

Speaking to the House of Commons yesterday Mr Sunak revealed more than two million self-employed people had also sought financial help from the government's coronavirus support scheme since it launched last week. 

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme launched several weeks earlier than planned, with grants worth a total of £6bn already claimed for. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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