Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the UK’s furlough scheme will be extended until the end of April, as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the scheme, the government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April.
The scheme will be available to employees across the UK, meaning that funding is guaranteed for areas facing tier three lockdown measures as well as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
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.
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) December 17, 2020
According to BBC News, the scheme has so far supported 9.6 million jobs across the UK, with more than one million businesses using it.
Initially introduced along with the UK’s first national lockdown in March, the furlough scheme has been repeatedly extended. Last month, Sunak extended it past a then-deadline of December until the end of March 2021.
The capital currently has the fifth-highest rate of infections in the country, with 506 per 100,000 people infected.
The imposition of the strongest possible restrictions on the capital means that audiences will no longer be allowed in any capacity at live events. These restrictions will also apply to parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.
The tier system’s next review is believed to be planned for December 23, meaning all socially-distanced shows scheduled between now and then will have to be postponed or cancelled.