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Furlough scheme extended until the end of April

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The furlough scheme has been extended for an additional month, the chancellor of the exchequer confirmed.

Just last month it was announced that the furlough scheme would be extended until the end of March 2021.

But chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced that the furlough scheme – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – will be extended for a month until the end of April 2021.

This means that the scheme will have been in place for more than a year after being introduced in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.

The government will continue to contribute 80% towards wages for employee hours not worked “to give businesses and employees across the UK certainty into the New Year” and “ahead of the 45 day redundancy notice period”.

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 eligibility criteria for the UK-wide scheme will remain unchanged and these changes will continue to apply to all devolved administrations.

So far, the CJRS has protected 9.6 million jobs across the UK.

See’s Furlough guide for more information on the scheme.

Sunak also confirmed that the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes – Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme – will be extended until the end of March.

These had been due to close at the end of January. The schemes have already provided over £68 billion in guaranteed loans, and helped to keep afloat business in all sectors of the UK economy who have been impacted by coronavirus.

It comes as the chancellor said the Budget will take place on 3 March 2021 “to deliver the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs”.

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.”

A fourth grant under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be available from February to April 2021.

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