The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages, the Chancellor has announced.
In a move to ensure firms can access the support they need through continuing economic disruption, Rishi Sunak also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.
These changes come ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3 March 2021.
The Chancellor originally said he would review the employer contribution element of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in January, but decided to bring this forward to allow businesses to plan ahead for the remainder of the winter and the New Year.
The government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April. Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked.
Businesses will also be given until the end of March to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These had been due to close at the end of January.
The government has already announced that more support will be available beyond March, through a successor loan scheme. More details of the scheme will be announced in due course, with the government providing a further update on wider COVID-19 economic support at the Budget on 3 March.
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