Job retention scheme: Rishi Sunak’s ‘incredible promise’ goes LIVE… at cost of £40bn

BBC’s business correspondant Nina Warhurst told BBC Breakfast Rishi Sunak’s job retention scheme was on a monumental scale that has never been done before. The job retention scheme went live at 8am this morning and allows British employers to apply for a grant to cover 80 percent of their employees’ monthly wages during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ms Warhurst said: “It is this incredible promise from the Chancellor.

“We will pay most of your staff’s wages if you promise there will be a job for them to return to when all this is over.

“This has never ever happened before, it is monumental in scale but it was designed under pressure in the space of 48 hours and they have had less than a month to iron out the details.

“The Government will cover up to 80 percent of worker’s wages up to £2,500 a month.

“Employers can then top up the remaining 20 percent if they choose to.”

She continued: “It is live from 8am this morning and employers can apply online for a grant.

“It is a grant, not a loan, it doesn’t need to be paid back.

“HMRC have said that the money will be with them within days.

“We don’t know how many businesses will apply but 2 million have been contacted.

“Some big names are in there, British Airways, McDonalds have said they will use this scheme.

“More than 8 million UK workers could end up on furlough, costing the government more than £40 billion in the first three months.”

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In a statement, Mr Sunak said: “Our unprecedented job retention scheme will protect millions of jobs across the country and is now up and running.

“It’s vital that our economy gets up and running again as soon as it’s safe – and this scheme will allow that to happen.”

Approximately 5,000 HMRC staff will operate the scheme, assisting thousands of UK firms.

The money should reach bank accounts within six working days, a statement from the Treasury said.

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