Chancellor: 140,000 firms have taken advantage of furlough scheme so far

Ryan Fowler

April 20, 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) has confirmed that 140,000 businesses have applied for funds through the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

Under the scheme, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month.

In a move that could save businesses an extra £300 a month for each employee under the scheme, the government will now cover the employer national insurance and minimum auto-enrolment pension scheme contributions employers pay on the wages they must pay their furloughed staff – on top of the wages covered under the scheme.

He said that a month ago he promised to set up a scheme to protect jobs. Earlier today Sunak launched a future fund that will involve a £500m investment fund for high-growth businesses.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme website opened this morning at 9am. Payments are expected in six days.

Sunak said: “The grants [businesses have] received will help pay the wages of more than one million people, who if they hadn’t been furloughed would have been at risk of losing their job.”

He added: “Let me put on record my thanks to the thousands of staff at HMRC and HMT who have made this happen.

“People have come out of retirement, put aside their normal duties and worked around the clock from their kitchen tables and spare rooms to get this system up and running.

“This remarkable story of public service reminds us how many different people are playing a role in the crisis and I’m very grateful to all of them for everything they have done.”

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