Further furlough extension expected

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Will furlough scheme be extended beyond England second Coronavirus lockdown

Related tags Furlough Job Retention Scheme Coronavirus lockdown

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to further extend the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) to all businesses that remain shut beyond 2 December.

According to The Daily Telegraph​, the Chancellor and the Bank of England are expected to announce the £100bn boost for the economy later today (5 November) as England is plunged into a second national lockdown that will see hospitality venues across the country forced to remain shut for at least the next four weeks​, except for takeaway and delivery.

Under the JRS extension, employees on furlough will continue to receive 80% of their salaries up to £2,500 per month if their employer has been made to shut down.

The Chancellor is expected to guarantee furlough funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too, should the devolved administrations bring in their own further lockdowns.

It is also reported that the Bank of England was considering setting negative interest rates.

The JRS had originally been set to come to a close on 31 October, to be replaced by the less generous Job Support Scheme (JSS), but this was reversed in light of the second lockdown, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson originally saying that the scheme would only be extended for the duration of the new lockdown.

However, yesterday (4 November) Johnson refused to rule out the possibility of extending the lockdown beyond the initial four week period​ when questioned by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

“Will the lockdown end on 2 December, come what may, or will it depend on circumstances at the time? People need to know that,” Starmer asked.

Johnson responded: “These autumn measures to combat the surge will expire automatically on 2 December, and we will then, I hope very much, be able to get this country going again, to get businesses, to get shops going again in the run-up to Christmas.

“But that depends on us all doing our bit now to make sure that we get the R down. I have no doubt that we can.”

While MPs approved plans for the second lockdown in a vote yesterday afternoon, several Conservative MPs have already said they could not support any extension beyond 2 December.

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