UK furlough scheme spending nears 23 billion pounds

LONDON, June 23 (Reuters) - Britain’s finance ministry said on Tuesday it had spent almost 23 billion pounds ($28.7 billion) on a furlough programme that is supporting 9.2 million jobs.

In a weekly update, the Treasury said claims under its Job Retention Scheme - which pays 80% of salary costs for furloughed staff - had risen to 22.9 billion pounds from 20.8 billion pounds the week before.

Banks had lent small businesses 28.09 billion pounds of 100% state-backed loans, while larger firms had received 10.53 billion pounds from the government’s main lending scheme, with the biggest companies getting an extra 2.10 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.8007 pounds) (Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by Sarah Young)