Furlough application system open for business
By Rob Freeman | 20th April 2020
The application system for furlough payments under the government's Job Retention Scheme has opened with business leaders calling for money to be made available as soon as possible.
An online portal created by HMRC went live at 7am today (April 20), enabling company's to claim a grant to cover up to 80 per cent of staff's wages - capped at £2,500 a month.
The Treasury says funds will reach company bank accounts within six working days with business leaders warning any delay could be hugely damaging to many businesses.
British Chambers of Commerce director general Adam Marshall said: "Our research indicates that two-thirds of firms have furloughed some portion of their workforce.
"With April's payday approaching, it is essential that the application process is smooth and that payments are made as soon as possible.
"Any delay would exacerbate the cash crisis many companies are facing and could threaten jobs and businesses."
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who announced the Job Retention Scheme last month, predicts it will help millions of people who were at risk of losing their jobs as the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis took hold.
Last week he extended the availability of the grants until the end of June - adding to the cost of £42billion estimated by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Independent think tank the Resolution Foundation predicted up to 11.7million people could be furloughed over the next three months with people in the hospitality and retail sectors 50 per cent more likely to be affected.
Only four per cent of those working in finance and insurance, the highest-paid sector of the economy, are likely to be furloughed.
HMRC said its online portal for applications is easy to use with up to 5,000 staff manning call centres and an online chat service.
The Treasury said the system can process up to 450,000 applications an hour.
Click here for more details on how to apply.
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