Almost 150,000 firms claim coronavirus wage bill help on opening day

Almost 150,000 firms applied for the government’s coronavirus wage bill payments on its first day (Monday), according to HMRC. The scheme funds ‘furloughed’ workers 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 a month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the money would help pay the wages of more than a million people across the UK, however, many thousands more are currently waiting to apply or receive advice on the next steps.

HMRC announced that the system can process up to 450,000 applications an hour and that businesses should receive the money within six working days of making an application.

According to HMRC chief executive Jim Harra, 67,000 job claims had been made within half an hour of the system going live at 08:00 on Monday.