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Businesses urged to claim furlough pay today so staff receive April wages

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Today is the last day that businesses can claim for furloughed staff if they need to make payments by the end of April.

Figures from the British Chambers of Commerce reveal that 71% of the 678 businesses it is tracking have furloughed staff.

A third of the businesses (30%) have furloughed between 75% and 100% of staff, but as the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme takes six working days to process, businesses are urged to claim fast.

If they want to give staff pay for the end of April, they should apply to the government scheme today.

The scheme which provides 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month for workers went live on Monday and 140,000 businesses applied on launch day alone.

‘Avoid a payday panic’

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Businesses need to sign up sharpish to the furlough scheme if they’re going to avoid a payday panic.

“It takes six working days to process claims, so any business furloughing staff needs to get their claim in today at the latest, to have the money ready by the end of the month.

“If they miss the deadline, the cash will still show up, and payments will still be backdated to 1 March, but businesses will have to bridge the gap.

“Unfortunately, there’s every sign that an awful lot of them can’t afford to bear these costs for long. The survey found that more than half of companies don’t have enough cash to last three months, so they can’t afford a delay.

“The good news is that HMRC seems to have done a phenomenal job of building a system that enabled 140,000 companies to claim for a million employees on day one alone. Now it needs to deliver on its promise to pay within six working days.”

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