The government today announced that the unprecedented furlough scheme designed to keep employed people in jobs over the course of the coronavirus lockdown, will be extended for a further month.
Following on from yesterday’s announcement to keep the social distancing measures in place, Rishi Sunak said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would now be open until the end of June – providing businesses with the certainty they need.
The scheme, which allows firms to furlough employees with the government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500, was originally open for three months and backdated from the 1 March to the end of May.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “We’ve taken unprecedented action to support jobs and businesses through this period of uncertainty, including the UK-wide Job Retention Scheme. With the extension of the coronavirus lockdown measures yesterday, it is the right decision to extend the furlough scheme for a month to the end of June to provide clarity.
“It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets up and running again when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to review the scheme so it is supporting our recovery.”
During today’s speech there was no indication whether the Chancellor would extend similar schemes available to freelance and self-employed workers.
Money expert and broadcaster, Martin Lewis, however thought there may be some movement on this, saying on social media: “It's likely the self-employment scheme'll be extended too.”
Future decisions beyond June are likely to take into account further developments on the wider measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus, as well as the responsible management of the public finances. The Chancellor did add he would keep the scheme under review and extend it if necessary.
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