Rishi Sunak has made an announcement in the House of Commons today regarding the Jobs Retention Scheme, more commonly known as furlough. It follows the beginning of new lockdown measures throughout England beginning November 5, which have plunged the country back into a near-full lockdown for the month of November.
When is furlough extended until?
The furlough scheme has been extended to the end of March 2021, the Chancellor has announced.
It will be available for all four nations of the UK despite differing lockdown strategies.
The policy will be reviewed in January.
“Our highest priority remains the same: to protect jobs and livelihoods.”
Around £40 billion has been spent on the furlough scheme so far, which came into effect for the first time in March 2020.
The scheme was meant to close this November and be replaced with the modified Jobs Support Scheme – but this has been scrapped for the time being for the extension of furlough.
About 9.6 million people have benefited at one time or another, with a steep take-up in the first few months.
The scheme will still pay wages at 80 percent, and the scheme will be reviewed after Christmas in January.
Employers will still have to make pension and national insurance contributions.
The Shadow Chancellor criticised the lateness of the Chancellor’s announcement, and asked why it took Mr Sunak such a long time to commit to the extension.
She told MPs: “How many jobs could have been saved if this Government had recognised reality and let businesses plan for the future?
“Will the Chancellor apologise to those who have already been made redundant because of this last minute approach?
“Now earlier this week, I called on the Chancellor to use the moment of national lockdown to set out a proper plan for the next six months.
“Finally today he has indicated that furlough will remain for lockdown areas until March, as Labour called for, and of course that is welcome – but many other questions remain.
“When will the Chancellor deliver any information about that retention incentive, after Labour has been warning for months that it was poorly targeted?”