Furlough scheme goes live, millions claim
The government furlough scheme has gone live this morning, with almost 70,000 claimants in the first half hour.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak, provides 80 per cent of employees’ wages up to the sum of £2,500 if they are placed on leave. It is at the discretion of their employer as to whether or not they provide the remaining 20 per cent.
It is expected that millions of workers in the UK will be furloughed as a result of Covid-19. According to the ONS, over one fifth of people have been furloughed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Sunak said that: "We promised support would be available by the end of April - today, we deliver our promise."
According to the Treasury, the HMRC system is able to process some 450,000 applications in an hour. Those employers who apply will receive the money they request within six working days.
Chief executive of HMRC, Jim Harra said that: "The big payroll date this month is on the 30th, so employers can claim anytime today, tomorrow or on Wednesday, and there's time to get that money into their account for the 30th of April."
Sunak announced an extension to the furloughing scheme until the end of June, following a government announcement that the UK lockdown will continue for another three weeks at a minimum.
The Office for Budget Responsibility estimate that the furloughing scheme will cost the country around £42 billion. Harra declined to comment.