As businesses prepare to enter a new year, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed a further extension to the Government-backed loans and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
In a move that the Chancellor said would provide “certainty for millions of jobs and businesses”, the Government has extended the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021.
Under the latest extension, workers will continue to receive payments equal to 80 percent of their wage, while 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, meaning that those currently benefitting from the scheme can continue to do so.
The Government has said that by extending the scheme “businesses across the country will have certainty about what support will be available to them”.
The Chancellor had intended to review the furlough scheme in January but is said to have brought this date forward to help businesses plan for the year ahead.
During his announcement, Rishi Sunak also confirmed that he would be extending all of the Government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes, including the Bounce Back Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, until the end of March 2021.
Applications for these loan schemes, which has seen more than £68 billion in guaranteed loans delivered to businesses, had been due to close at the end of January 2021.
As well as announcing extensions to the current financial support measures, the Chancellor said that he would hold his next Budget on 3 March 2021. This budget will deliver the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs.