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Nearly nine million furloughed while 750,000 firms receive ‘bounce back’ loans

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Close to nine million people have been furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme, Treasury figures show.

Employers are now claiming a total of £17.5bn to cover the wages of staff who are on temporary leave during the coronavirus lockdown, up from £15bn a week ago.

As of Sunday, 8.7 million workers had been furloughed by 1.1 million firms.

Meanwhile, claims made by self-employed workers who are struggling during the pandemic have risen by 200,000 to 2.5 million in the past week.

The total value of claims made under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which launched on 13 May, is now £7.2bn, up from £6.8bn.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed the furlough scheme will continue until the end of October. It was originally due to run until June.

However, employers will be expected to contribute towards furloughed workers’ wages from September.

Sunak has also announced a “second and final” grant will be available for self-employed workers from August.

Meanwhile, nearly 750,000 small businesses have received ‘Bounce Back’ loans from the government to help them survive the coronavirus crisis.

Treasury figures show £21.3bn has been loaned under the scheme to 699,354 businesses.

The scheme allows small firms and sole traders to apply for a 100% state-backed loan of between £2,000 and £50,000, capped at 25% of a company’s turnover.

No interest or repayments are due for the first 12 months. After this period, all lenders who offer the loans will charge a fixed annual interest rate of 2.5%.


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