Furlough to be extended

As lockdown starts across England, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension to the furlough scheme until the end of March 2021.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) started in March this year. As lockdown plans were announced for November, the Scheme had been planned to continue until December. It will continue to pay up to 80% of employees’ wages.

Rishi Sunak said: “The government’s intention is for the new health restrictions to remain only until the start of December.

“But, as we saw from the first lockdown, the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses and areas than the duration of any restrictions.

“And as the Bank of England have said this morning, ‘the economic recovery has slowed’, and the economic risks are ‘skewed to the downside’.

“Given this significant uncertainty, a worsening economic backdrop, and the need to give people and businesses security through the winter, I believe it is right to go further.

“So we can announce today that the furlough scheme will not be extended for one month – it will be extended until the end of March. The government will continue to help pay people’s wages, up to 80% of the normal amount.

“All employers will have to pay for hours not worked is the cost of Employer NICs and pension contributions.

“We’ll review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.”

CPT welcomes it

Confederation of Passenger Transport’s Chief Executive, Graham Vidler, said: “The extension of furlough through to March 2021 is very welcome. CPT has consistently been highlighting the need for action to protect jobs and we thank the Chancellor for listening to us and others in the business community.

“The coach sector still faces a challenging winter and we will keep pushing for Government to provide bespoke support but today is a welcome first step in ensuring the industry is able to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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