Furlough scheme to be extended until end of April
The Government’s furlough scheme was due to expire at the end of March but the scheme will now continue until the end of April.
The extension comes after the tier system was reviewed on Thursday, December 17 where 68 per cent of the population of England was placed under the toughest restriction, tier 3.
Under the furlough scheme the Government will continue to pay 80 per cent of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April.
The furlough extension suggests the economy may still be struggling to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chancellor said: “Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.
“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable them to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our plan for jobs.”
Mr Sunak has also extended Government loan schemes until the end of March to help support businesses.
Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked.
Mr Sunak also announced that the next Budget will be on March 3, 2021.
Other schemes which had been set to close in January but which will now stay open until the end of March are:
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
Official figures showed that £46.4 billion of furlough payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme had been claimed for 9.9 million jobs in 1.2 million firms since it was set launched in April.
So far £43.5 billion of bounce back loans have been provided to businesses.
Around £19.6 billion has been made available under the CBILS and almost £5 billion in CLBILS, which is for larger companies.