The UK government’s furlough or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to be extended by a further month to the end of April, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced Wednesday.
A five-month extension to the scheme to the end of March had previously been announced in early November.
The government will continue to contribute 80% of an employee’s salary for hours not worked. Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICs), and pensions for hours worked; and NICs and pensions for hours not worked.
The chancellor said in a press release: “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.” The Plan for Jobs was set out in July.
Self-employed workers will benefit from a fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant for the period February to April, as announced previously.
Businesses will also be given until the end of March to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the government said. These schemes had been due to close at the end of January.
Sunak also set a date — 3 March — for the next Budget when a successor loan scheme will be announced.
— Oliver Rowe (Oliver.Rowe@aicpa-cima.com) is an FM magazine senior editor.