The government’s furlough scheme has now cost £19.6bn as around 8.9m people are now covered, the Treasury has announced.
The scheme allows employees to receive 80% of their monthly salary, up to £2,500. Around 2.6m self-employed workers have made claims worth £7.5bn.
Recent figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) indicates the government’s bill to combat coronavirus is to hit around £123.2bn.
The annual borrowing is expected to equal 15.2% of the UK economy, the OBR said, which will be the highest since the 22.1% seen after the Second World War.
The furlough scheme will continue to operate until October, when the state will start to reduce payments and employers will pick up the tab for the rest.