More than half of Britain’s adult population is now being bankrolled by the state amid warnings from the Chancellor that the furlough scheme could soon cost as much as the NHS.
Analysis of official figures shows that 27 million people are being funded by the Government amid growing concern over the devastating impact inflicted on the economy by the coronavirus pandemic.
The figure includes people being paid through the furlough scheme and those claiming benefits after being made unemployed because of the virus. The remainder are public sector workers and pensioners. On Monday night, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said the cost was “clearly not a sustainable situation” and warned that Britain must get back to work.
Amid growing signs of Cabinet friction over the ongoing lockdown and mounting cost, Mr Sunak said: “To anyone who is anxious about this, I want to give them reassurance today that there will be no cliff-edge to the furlough scheme.
“I’m working, as we speak, to figure out the most effective way to wind down the scheme and to ease people back into work in a measured way.