4,000,000 have been put on leave because of a coronavirus

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Half a million employers have asked for help paying workers’ wages

About half a million employers have applied to join the Coronavirus Job Retention program because the lockdown continues to keep businesses from operating.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons that the colossal rescue package, which allows bosses to put staff on leave and claim 80% of their wages through government, was launched last week and that the first grants have just been paid.

He said that one in four companies had ceased trading following the pandemic, resulting in the loss of more than four million jobs.

He said the government was doing what it could, but “couldn’t save every job and every business,” warning, “These are tough times already and there will be more to come.”

The Thinktank Resolution Foundation predicted that the leave scheme could cost the government between £ 30-40 billion in three months, while the independent finance watchdog, the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), warned that the UK economy could shrink by a third if the lockdown continues for some time.

But the finance minister said the gloomy forecast would be even worse if it weren’t for the government’s retention program, which has been at the center of efforts to ensure that the UK can bounce back ” as quickly as possible ”after locking is complete.

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“I wholeheartedly believe that the best solution is to ensure that as many people as possible can return to their jobs. It is the best way to protect people, protect their livelihoods, their families and household incomes, “he said.

However, he acknowledged that some companies had experienced difficulties while waiting for the program to be implemented and announced new taxpayer-supported micro-credit to help small businesses.

The “rebound” program will allow small businesses to claim 25% of their turnover up to a maximum of £ 50,000, with the government paying interest for the first 12 months.

Sunak said it would start next week and that successful applicants could receive cash within 24 hours.

The Chancellor has acknowledged that some small businesses are struggling to access credit and, by guaranteeing the full value of the loan, he hopes that lenders will allow businesses to borrow the funds they need.

He said there would be “no prospective business viability test, no complex eligibility criteria, just a standard form that companies can quickly and easily fill out.”

But he dismissed calls to the government to take out other coronavirus loan programs with a 100% guarantee, insisting that his new plan would “carefully target” the level of state support for those who need it the most.

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