More than 440,000 self-employed Britons apply for aid

FILE PHOTO: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is seen as he arrives at Downing Street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 13, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 440,000 self-employed workers in Britain applied for a government aid programme that will give them a grant of up to 7,500 pounds ($9,142) during its first day of operation, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday.

Sunak said the applications were for funds totalling 1.3 billion pounds to cover earnings lost due to the coronavirus.

External forecasters estimate the scheme, which opened on Wednesday, could cost around 10 billion pounds in total.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce