UK furlough scheme spending exceeds 20 billion pounds

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s finance ministry said on Tuesday it had spent more than 20 billion pounds ($25 billion) on a furlough programme that is supporting 9.1 million jobs, as well as lending over 38 billion pounds to companies.

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 20.8 billion pounds from 19.6 billion pounds the week before.

Banks had lent small businesses 26.34 billion pounds of 100% state-backed loans, while larger firms had received 10.11 billion pounds from the government’s main lending scheme, with the biggest companies getting an extra 1.77 billion pounds.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Elizabeth Piper