Furlough scheme extended by a month

The furlough scheme has been extended by an additional month to the end of April 2021.

The government said the move was to ensure firms can access the support they need through continuing economic disruption.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.

The next Budget will take place on 3rd March 2021.

Sunak 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.”

Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s shadow chancellor, accused Rishi Sunak of waiting until the “last possible minute” to make a statement on the furlough scheme, by only providing clarity for employers 24 hours before a key redundancy deadline on Friday.

She said: “Rishi Sunak’s irresponsible, last-minute decision-making has left the UK with the worst recession of any major economy.”