The UK government is facing an £8 billion bill as six million staff are furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government is now paying the wages of 6.3 million workers, employers impacted by the coronavirus are entitled to claim taxpayer money to pay 80 per cent of each staff member’s wages which is capped at £2,500 a month, that means a fifth of Britain’s workforce has gone on furlough, costing the British taxpayer a massive £8 billion.
The scheme is designed to save companies from having to lay off staff permanently as business grinds to a halt and shuts up shop because of the pandemic. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Since the launch [on April 20], 800,000 employers have used the job retention scheme to furlough 6.3 million jobs, the total of which is £8 billion.”
The scheme, originally set to cover the wages of staff laid-off temporarily until the end of May, was later extended by a month.
There have also been 1.8 million claims for Universal Credit, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: “Since March 16 to the end of April we have received over 1.8 million claims for Universal Credit, over 250,000 claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance and over 20,000 claims for Employment And Support Allowance.
“Overall, this is six times the volume that we would typically experience and in one week we had a tenfold increase.”