November 26, 2020

UK furlough scheme extended by four months

The UK scheme to pay wages of workers on leave because of coronavirus will be extended to October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said.

He said the government backed workers and companies going into the lockdown, and would support them coming out.

Mr Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500.

But he said the government will ask companies to “start sharing” the cost of the scheme from August.

Some 7.5 million workers are now covered by the scheme, up from 6.3 million last week, he said.

The chancellor told the Commons that from August, the scheme would continue for all sectors and regions of the country but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work, he said.

Employers currently using the scheme would be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.

Mr Sunak said: “I’m extending the scheme because I won’t give up on the people who rely on it. Our message today is simple: we stood behind Britain’s workers and businesses as we came into this crisis, and we will stand behind them as we come through the other side.”

He also rejected suggestions some people might get “addicted” to furlough if it was extended.

“Nobody who is on the furlough scheme wants to be on this scheme,” the chancellor said. “People up and down this country believe in the dignity of their work, going to work, providing for their families, it’s not their fault their business has been asked to close or asked to stay at home.

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