Four million employees furloughed amid coronavirus crisis

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One in four businesses have ceased trading as a result of the health crisis, leading to around half a million businesses applying to the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – with more than four million jobs being furloughed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons the rescue package was launched on schedule last week and the first grants have been paid.

He assured the government is doing what it can but ‘can’t save every job and every business,’ warning: ‘These are already tough times and there will be more to come.’

Thinktank Resolution Foundation estimates the furlough scheme could cost the government up to £40 billion in three months.

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Lizzie Day