More than 1m British businesses have furloughed at least one employee, according to data from HM Revenue and Customs that covers up to 31 May.
Claims up to that point totalled £17.4bn, HMRC said. The government pays 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month under the scheme.
The flailing retail sector furloughed the most employees followed by accommodation and food services. There was also a very large number of manufacturing claims, given its relatively small share of the total economy.
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