More than 140,000 firms have applied for the government’s job retention scheme since it launched on Monday.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the daily Downing Street briefing that the grants would help to cover the wages of more than one million people during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Government’s scheme is designed to enable employers to claim for most of their staff’s wages during the COVID-19.
The Job Retention Scheme – also known as the “furlough” scheme – means that employers can claim for a cash grant to cover up to 80% of their staff’s wages, capped at £2,500 a month.
It is hoped that it will persuade businesses across the country to keep as many people in employment as possible.
HMRC opened up a new online portal on Monday morning for employers.
It said that after making a successful application, payments will land in a company’s bank account within six working days.
Business groups said that delays in payments could prove disastrous for British companies.
The Chancellor refused today to be drawn on the cost of the furlough scheme or whether it would be extended again.