UK furlough scheme spending exceeds £20 billion

Britain’s finance ministry said on Tuesday it had spent more than 20 billion pounds on a furlough programme that is supporting 9.1 million jobs, as well as lending over 38 billion pounds to companies.

In a weekly update, the Treasury said claims under its Job Retention Scheme – which pays 80% of salary costs for furloughed staff – had risen to 20.8 billion pounds from 19.6 billion pounds the week before.

Banks had lent small businesses 26.34 billion pounds of 100% state-backed loans, while larger firms had received 10.11 billion pounds from the government’s main lending scheme, with the biggest companies getting an extra 1.77 billion pounds.

“Unemployment will get worse before it gets better,” Nye Cominetti, an economist at the Resolution Foundation think tank, said, pointing to the scheduled expiry of the government’s furlough scheme at the end of October.

“The government will need a bold package of support measures in place to help them before this second wave of unemployment arrives,” he said.

Source: Reuters