British Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak has extended the job retention scheme by a further four months until the end of October to boost millions of jobs and businesses. The Indian-origin Finance Minister said in a statement that the government, by that time, will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses.
“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,” said Sunak while announcing the extension of furlough scheme from the House of Commons.
The 40-year-old Conservative leader said that there will be no change in the scheme until the end of July but new flexibility will be introduced from August to support the transition back to work. According to the treasury department, specific details regarding the introduction of flexibility will be made available by the end of May.
The government will also ask employers to start paying a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. Sunak asserted that the employees will continue to receive 80 per cent of their salary, up to £2,500, through combined efforts of the government and employers.
“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,” said the Finance Minister.
The decision to extend the Job Retention Scheme will continue to apply across all regions and sectors of the UK economy. Trades Union Congress and British Chambers of Commerce have welcomed the decision saying the chancellor has clearly been listening to unions and Chamber business communities.
“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, said BCC Director General Adam Marshall in a statement.