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The Government’s coronavirus furlough scheme will be extended by four months to the end of October, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced. Under the job retention programme, which was launched in March, furloughed workers are paid 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500 by the government.
From August, Sunak said measures would be put in place to allow employers to bring furloughed workers back part time. However, the Government will also expect companies to begin sharing the cost of paying salaries. Further detail on how Government support will be wound down over this period has not yet been provided.
The scheme is currently costing the government about £14 billion every month, with 7.5 million workers having been furloughed under the scheme.
“I’m extending the scheme because I won’t give up on the people who rely on it,” Sunak said. “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.”
Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed the news, saying: “Small employers have told us that part-time furloughing will help them recover from this crisis and it is welcome that new flexibility is announced today.”
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