Furlough support for jobs will be extended in Wednesday’s Budget to keep workers in employment as the economy begins to reopen, chancellor Rishi Sunak has indicated.
The job retention scheme – which pays up to 80 per cent of wages for staff who would otherwise be laid off – is due to expire at the end of April, but the chancellor is coming under intense pressure to extend it as many businesses will still be closed at that point.
He today signalled that it will continue, along with a raft of other business support measures due to run out at the end of March, including business rates relief, support for the self-employed and VAT breaks for hospitality and tourism.
Sunak told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday he wants to “support people and businesses” as the UK emerges from lockdown.
Asked if furlough would be extended, he replied: “I said at the beginning of this crisis that I would do whatever it took to protect people, families and businesses through this crisis and I remain completely committed to that.
“The PM in the roadmap set out a path for us to recover and reopen and I want to support people and businesses along that path.
“I’m not going to comment on specific policies but I want to make sure people realise that we are going to be there to support them and if you look at our track record we went big, we went early and there’s more to come next week.”