Furlough scheme will remain open until October

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.

It means that furloughed workers will continue to receive 80 per cent of their current salary, up to £2,500 a month. (https://wnj.co.uk/job-retention/)

However, the Chancellor has also announced that the government will ask employers to start sharing the cost of the scheme from August.

And from the beginning of that month, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time – with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards their salaries.

Under the current scheme, which was launched in March in response to the coronavirus crisis, furloughed employees cannot work.

Thousands of businesses up and down the country have now furloughed members of staff.

More specific details and information around the implementation of the changes to the job retention scheme will be made available by the end of this month, the government has said.

Mr Sunak said: “Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak – and I’ve been clear that I want to avoid a cliff edge and get people back to work in a measured way.

“This extension and the changes we are making to the scheme will give flexibility to businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects.”

New statistics have revealed the job retention scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost one million businesses.

Latest official figures also show businesses have benefitted from more than £14bn in loans and guarantees to support their cashflow during the crisis.

This includes 268,000 Bounce Back Loans worth £8.3bn, 36,000 loans worth over £6bn through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and £359m through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Blackpool-headquartered Federation of Small Businesses, has welcomed the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

He said: “It is a lifeline which has been hugely beneficial in helping small employers keep their staff in work. Small employers have told us that part-time furloughing will help them recover from this crisis and it is welcome that new flexibility is announced.”