BREAKING NEWS: Furlough Extended Until October

The Government has just announced an extension of the furlough scheme to October with no changes before end of July.

Details of changes after that will be provided by the end of May but are likely to require an employer contribution. The Chancellor confirmed employees will continue to receive at least 80% of salaries and may be able to return part time.

Conveyancers that have been concerned that chains take too long to complete and this may result in staff being laid off may take some comfort whilst they await details of the scheme.

Chancellor Rishi 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.”

Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“The Job Retention Scheme is a lifeline which has been hugely beneficial in helping small employers keep their staff in work, and it’s extension is welcome. 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 today.”

BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:

“The extension of the Job Retention Scheme will come as a huge help and a huge relief for businesses across the UK.

“The Chancellor is once again listening to what we’ve been saying, and the changes planned will help businesses bring their people back to work through the introduction of a part-time furlough scheme. We will engage with the Treasury and HMRC on the detail to ensure that this gives companies the flexibility they need to reopen safely.

“Over the coming months, the government should continue to listen to business and evolve the scheme in line with what’s happening on the ground. Further support may yet be needed for companies who are unable to operate for an extended period, or those who face reduced capacity or demand due to ongoing restrictions.”

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“The Chancellor is confronting a challenging balancing act deftly. As economic activity slowly speeds up, it’s essential that support schemes adapt in parallel.

“Extending the furlough to avoid a June cliff-edge continues the significant efforts made already and will protect millions of jobs.

“Introducing much needed flexibility is extremely welcome. It will prepare the ground for firms that are reawakening, while helping those who remain in hibernation. That’s essential as the UK economy revives step-by-step, while supporting livelihoods.

“Firms will, of course, want more detail on how they will contribute to the scheme in the future and will work with government to get this right.

“Above all, the path of the virus is unpredictable, and much change still lies ahead. The government must continue to keep a watchful eye on those industries and employees that remain at risk. All schemes will need to be kept under review to help minimise impacts on people’s livelihoods and keep businesses thriving.

“The greater the number of good businesses saved now, the easier it will be for the economy to recover.”

More details to follow.

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