Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has this afternoon announced the extension of the furlough scheme through to the end of April 2021.
The extension of the scheme will see the UK government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages throughout all Devolved Administrations in a move The Treasury said will “give businesses and employees across the UK certainty into the New Year”.
Mr Sunak also announced that government-backed loan schemes designed to support stricken firms through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme – would also continue until the end of March.
The schemes are believed to have already provided over £68 billion in guaranteed loans, and have “helped to keep afloat business in all sectors of the UK economy” who have been impacted by the pandemic.
The extensions continue to form part of the government’s #PlanForJobs
The plan includes the Kickstart Scheme, more investment in training and skills, as well as the Self Employment Income Support Scheme grant, with a fourth grant being made available from February to April 2021.
Announcing the scheme extensions, Mr 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.”
The Treasury confirmed its decision to announce the extension of the schemes now – ahead of Christmas and further into the New Year – to “ensure that businesses can continue to access the support they need to grow and recover”.
The announcement comes as the Chancellor also revealed that the UK’s next budget would take place on 3rd March, with latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility to be published alongside it.
More information on scheme extensions can be found via the gov.uk website here.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.