Furlough bill hits £25billion with 12m jobs being propped up by state

Twelve million jobs are now being propped up by the state: Furlough bill rises by another £2.6billion in a WEEK to £25billion, while grants to self-employed hit £7.7bn

  • Job retention scheme (JRS) rose £2.6bn in a week from £22.9bn
  • It is now supporting 9.3 million jobs according to data released by the Treasury
  • Figures released as PM prepared to promise a ‘New Deal’ to rebuild Britain

Britain’s furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today.

The coronavirus job retention scheme (JRS) which pays 80 per cent of salary costs for staff – rose £2.6billion this week from £22.9billion the week before.

It is now supporting 9.3 million jobs according to data released by the Treasury and HMRC this morning.

Additionally the support scheme for the self-employed rose to 7.7billion, across 2.6million claims. 

Banks have lent small businesses £29.5billion-worth of 100 per cent state-backed loans, up about £1.5 billion pounds from the previous week. 

Larger firms had received £11.1 billion from the government’s main lending scheme, with the biggest companies getting an extra 2.3 billion pounds. 

The figures were released as Boris Johnson prepared to promise a ‘New Deal’ to rebuild Britain. 

Figures reveal scale of Covid business loans 

Figures released on Tuesday by the Treasury and HMRC show one extent of the Government’s massive spending spree to help sure up a faltering economy hit by the coronavirus crisis.

As ministers ordered Britons to stay at home unless they had to shop for food in March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support the companies whose business would be decimated by the decision.

It meant launching three Government-backed loans, the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), a similar scheme for larger businesses called CLBILS, and the bounce-back loans, which help out some of the smallest companies.

Data for last week, released Tuesday, again shows that the bounce-back loans have proved the most popular.

Close to 1.2million businesses have applied for the loans of up to £50,000.

So far a little under 970,000 have been approved and handed £29.5billion.

Meanwhile, 105,000 companies have applied for a CBILS loan, 52,000 have been approved, and £11.1billion has been paid out.

Out of the 745 applicants for CLBILS, 359 have been approved for loans worth £2.3 billion.

The Government also revealed that 1.1 million businesses have furloughed 9.3 million workers, claiming £25.5 billion to cover a portion of their salaries while they cannot work.

The costly programmes were launched to see Britain through the worst of lockdown, but the Government will hope that these can be eased going forward.

The Treasury has already said that companies will have to shoulder some of the burden for paying their furloughed workers from August, before the programme is phased out.

The deadline for new applications to the scheme was set at June 30.

It comes as the economy is preparing to return to some semblance of normality. On Saturday, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 23.

As a major English city is plunged back into a local lockdown, the Prime Minister will this morning pledge to ‘build, build, build’, bringing forward a massive programme of public works.

He will say Britain can ‘not just bounce back, but bounce forward – stronger and better and more united than ever before’ in the wake of the coronavirus.

But in a grim reminder that the virus is still at large, Mr Johnson was last night locked in crisis talks about reimposing the lockdown in Leicester.

Today’s speech will be accompanied by billions of pounds of investment in building and refurbishing schools, hospitals and roads, as well as new spending on transport and local growth projects.

A new unit, dubbed Project Speed, will be led by Chancellor Rishi Sunak this summer to identify projects that can be fast-tracked.

Reform of the planning system to remove ‘blockages’ is also under consideration. And a new National Infrastructure Strategy will be published in the autumn.

Mr Sunak will put the ‘infrastructure revolution’ at the heart of a mini-Budget expected on July 8.

In his speech in Dudley in the West Midlands today, the PM will also pledge to ‘build back better and stronger’, with a programme designed to reach all parts of the country.

‘Too many parts of this country have felt left behind, neglected, unloved, as though someone had taken a strategic decision that their fate did not matter as much as the metropolis,’ he will say.

‘If we deliver this plan together, then we will together build our way back to health.’

The PM is also expected to offer an ‘opportunity guarantee’ to young people and those who have lost their jobs because of the lockdown, with major investment in apprenticeships and further education.

And his chief aide Dominic Cummings is shaking up the Whitehall machine, which saw the departure of Britain’s top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill on Sunday night.

Mr Johnson will directly reference the famous New Deal programmes led by Franklin D Roosevelt, which are widely credited with rescuing the United States from the Great Depression in the 1930s. Yesterday he confirmed there would be not attempt to ‘go back to what people called austerity’, saying that would be a mistake.

It came as shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned that mass unemployment could have a ‘scarring impact on our country for decades’ if the Government cannot adapt the furlough scheme for different industries instead of pursuing a ‘one size fits all approach’.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, she said: ‘If we look at what other countries are doing, and what the evidence tells us, that first step of stopping people becoming unemployed in the first place is absolutely critical. 

‘Once people have become unemployed, that has a scarring impact on them and on our country for decades into the future.

‘So what I’m saying to the Government, and I’ve offered this in the spirit of constructive opposition many times, I’ve said to them, please, shift course, do not continue to have this one size fits all approach, because that will inevitably lead to much greater unemployment in the future.’

Ms Dodds recommended keeping young people in education and training for longer to ‘keep them out of that pool of unemployed people,’ and better supporting those who become unemployed using previously used strategies like the Future Jobs Fund.

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