The UK furlough scheme which aims to keep employees on payroll through not working due to the Covid-19 crisis has gone live.
In an interview with the BBC’s Today programme, the boss at HMRC, Jim Harra, said that more than 67,000 claims from businesses had been made within the first 30 minutes of the scheme going live.
The scheme, which was announced one month ago by Rishi Sunak, will mean that the government will cover 80% of employees’ wages, up to £2,500 a month, if they are put on furlough.
It is expected that millions of workers will be put on the scheme or to be “furloughed” due to the global health crisis.
Under current UK government guidance for social distancing, the hospitality industry has been negatively impacted, with Bars, Restaurants, and Hotels closing to the public. It is expected that many employees within the industry will be furloughed.
Rishi Sunak took to Twitter to say, “we promised the support would be available by the end of April – today, we deliver our promise.”
Once an application has been made, the employers can expect to receive the money within six working days. The Treasury has put in place robot systems to deal with the demand, saying it can process up to 450,000 applications an hour.
“The big payroll date this month is on the 30th, so employers can claim anything today, tomorrow or on Wednesday, and there’s time to get that money into their account for the 30th of April,” said Mr Farra on the Today programme.
This comes after Mr. Sunak announced on Friday that the government coronavirus job retention scheme would be extended until the end of June.
Whilst government ministers have said the lockdown restrictions would continue for another three weeks.
The Office of Budget Responsibility last week expect furloughing employees could cost in excess of £42 billion, but was forecast before the government announced the extension to the scheme.
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