Chancellor Extends Furlough Scheme

The Chancellor has announced the extension of the furlough and loan schemes till the end of April 2021.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the government will extend the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021, providing businesses and employees some certainty through the New Year. The government will continue to contribute 80% towards wages under the scheme.

The government will also be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes, so struggling businesses will have until the end of March to access the loans as a means of support. Businesses can access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These had been due to close at the end of January.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak – courtesy HM Treasury

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi 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 businesses 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.”

According to government figures, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) scheme has protected 9.6 million jobs across the UK with more than one million businesses accessing loans to help them through the crisis.

Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, said, “While our loan schemes have provided a vital lifeline to millions of firms across the country, we know that business owners need additional certainty as we head into the New Year. Extending government-backed loan schemes will give companies right across the UK the finance they need to support, protect and create jobs as we build back better from the pandemic.”

The Chancellor said he would review the employer contribution element of the CJRS in January, but decided to bring this forward to allow businesses to plan ahead for the remainder of the winter and the New Year.