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UK survey shows 76% of firms apply for coronavirus job retention scheme

Christian Fernsby |
More than three-quarters of British have applied for the government's emergency job retention scheme to help them through the coronavirus lockdown, according to an official survey.

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Seventy-six percent of the companies which responded to April 20-May 3 survey said they had applied, the Office for National Statistics said, up from 66% in the previous fortnightly survey by the Office for National Statistics.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, under which the state pays 80% of the wages of workers who are temporarily laid off, is the centrepiece of Britain's attempts to prevent an expected doubling of the unemployment rate from shooting even higher.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday the programme was costing about 8 billion pounds ($9.8 billion) a month - about two-thirds of the cost of running England's health service - as he extended it until the end of October.

He also said companies would have to contribute to its costs from August.

The ONS said 22% of businesses which responded to its survey had temporarily paused trading, a slightly lower proportion than previously, but less than 1% had closed permanently.

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