© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: British finance minister Rishi Sunak speaks at a coronavirus news conference in Londonngoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London
By David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) – British employers have put more than a million staff on temporary leave due to the coronavirus, finance minister Rishi Sunak said, reporting a flood of applications since the government’s costliest programme to support the economy opened.
The scheme will pay 80% of employers’ wage bills until the end of June for staff suspended during the coronavirus lockdown, and it received 140,000 applications from firms in the first eight hours it was open on Monday.
“The grants … will help pay the wages of more than a million people – a million people who if they hadn’t been furloughed would have been at risk of losing their jobs,” Sunak said at the government’s daily news conference.
Businesses that apply by…