The furlough scheme will be extended for another month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.

The scheme was due to expire at the end of March but the extension suggests the Government believes the economy will still be struggling to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Sunak also extended Government loan schemes until the end of March to help support businesses.

We are extending furlough until the end of April 2021.

We will continue to pay 80% towards wages of unworked hours – giving businesses and employees across the UK certainty into the New Year.

Read more: #PlanForJobs

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) December 17, 2020

The Chancellor 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 them 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 Budget will take place on 3 March 2021 and will deliver the next phase of our plan to support our recovery from coronavirus and protect jobs.

More: #Budget2021 #PlanForJobs

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) December 17, 2020

Mr Sunak also announced that the next Budget will be on March 3, 2021.

Under the furlough scheme the Government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April.

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 business loans schemes had been due to close at the end of January.

The schemes, which will now stay open until the end of March are: the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

The Job Retention Scheme launched on 20 April.

By midnight on 13 December there were a total of:

➡️9.9m jobs furloughed ➡️1.2m employers furloughing➡️Total claimed £46.4bn

This data includes all the Job Retention Scheme, including its extension.

— HM Revenue & Customs (@HMRCgovuk) December 17, 2020

The schemes have helped keep the economy on life support but have added to the eye-watering cost of the pandemic to the public purse.

Official figures showed that £46.4 billion of furlough payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme had been claimed for 9.9  million jobs in 1.2 million firms since it was set launched in April.

So far £43.5 billion of bounce back loans have been provided to businesses.

Around £19.6 billion has been made available under the CBILS and almost £5 billion in CLBILS, which is for larger companies.

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