Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the government’s furlough scheme will be extended past December.
In a statement to the Commons, Sunak confirmed that workers whose employers have been forced to shut will continue to receive 80 per cent of their salaries until March 2021.
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.
The extension comes hours after the Bank of England confirmed a fresh £150 billion stimulus package to strengthen the economy as the country begins a second lockdown.
The Bank has forecast that the economy will shrink by two per cent between October and December, but predicted that the UK will avoid entering a double dip recession.
Sunak also confirmed that the job retention bonus – a £1,000 payment to firms for retaining furloughed staff until January – will be scrapped because of the new extension in furlough.
"This Treasury is, has been and will always be the Treasury of the whole United Kingdom."
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the extension of the furlough scheme until March will also cover Scotland, Wales and N Ireland, as well as England.
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) November 5, 2020
The move comes after business groups and politicians across the UK called for further financial support from the government during the second wave of Covid-19.
England’s new nationwide begins today (November 5) after it was confirmed that the UK has passed one million COVID-19 cases.
Under the new rules, non-essential shops and hospitality businesses will have to close for a month, but unlike the restriction in the spring, schools, colleges and universities will remain open. Takeaways will be allowed to stay open as pubs, bars and restaurants must close for four weeks.
The lockdown will come into force on Thursday (November 5) and last until December 2. The country will then revert back to the three-tier system imposed earlier this month.