Furlough Scheme Extended To September In Rishi Sunak’s Budget

Quarter of million left furlough in August as redundancies hit seven-year low

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. Image: WikiCommons

Furlough Scheme Extended To September In UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget.

The UK’s furlough scheme will be extended until September in today’s Budget, ensuring the government will pay millions of people’s wages past when Covid restrictions are set to end.

Some 600,000 more self-employed people will also be eligible for government help as access to grants is widened- Labour said the support schemes should have been extended “months ago”.

Mr Sunak will outline a three-point plan to support people through the coming months, rebuild the economy and “fix” the public finances in the wake of the pandemic when he delivers his statement to the Commons at around 12:30 GMT. But he has warned of tough economic times ahead and there are reports that he plans to raise some taxes.

The chancellor said that it was “only right” that the government continued to help businesses and pay workers’ wages as the UK looks to lift all Covid restrictions permanently over the next four months.

The scheme currently sees the government pay 80 per cent of employees’ wages, up to £2,500 a month, for hours not worked due to the Covid lockdown. Sunak’s extension will see the same terms until the end of June, with employers then asked to pay 10 per cent of wages paid out through the scheme in July and 20 per cent in August and September.

The chancellor will also announce further support for self-employed workers, with grants worth 80 per cent of three months’ average trading profits, up to £7,500, made available. Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap sees non-essential retail and outside hospitality open no earlier than 12 April, while indoors hospitality, cinemas and theatres will open no earlier than 17 May.

The government is hoping it can lift all restrictions on 21 June.

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Tony Winterburn

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