Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the furlough scheme for workers in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic will be extended to October.
The scheme, which pays 80% of wages for people who are unable to work during the pandemic, will run under its original terms until August. From then until October, it will run with “greater flexibility.”
Furloughed employees will also be able to return to work part-time at the end of July, with employers paying a chunk of their salaries.
The update comes as music venues across the UK continue to rely on the scheme to pay the wages of their out-of-work employees.
Announcing the extension, Mr Sunak said: “By that point, we will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses. Until the end of July, there will be no changes to the scheme whatsoever.
1/ The job retention scheme will be extended, for four months, until the end of October.
By that point, we will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses. Until the end of July, there will be no changes to the scheme whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/gQznY4c2Ir
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) May 12, 2020
“Then from August to October, the scheme will continue for all sectors and regions of the UK but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.
“Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time. And we we will ask employers to start sharing with the Government the cost of paying people’s salaries. Full details will follow by the end of May.”
Mr Sunak added in a speech to the Commons: “I want to assure people today of one thing that won’t change. Workers will through the combined efforts of Government and employers continue to receive the same level of overall support as they do now at 80% of their current salary up to £2,500 a month.
“I’m extending the scheme because I won’t give up on the people who rely on it. Our message today is simple: we stood behind Britain’s workers and businesses as we came into this crisis, and we will stand behind them as we come through the other side.”
The latest update comes after Boris Johnson announced details of a new COVID Alert system and gave an update on the UK’s lockdown restrictions in his latest national address.
From tomorrow (May 13), people in the UK will be allowed to enjoy unlimited exercise, as well as sitting in parks with friends outside their immediate households.