Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak – and the Chancellor has been clear that he wants to avoid a cliff edge and get people back to work in a measured way.
The scheme is just one part of our world-leading economic response to coronavirus. As we move into the second stage of our response, we are focussed on not just on saving lives, but also saving livelihoods. That’s why we are taking unprecedented action to support businesses, jobs and our economy.
The Chancellor has today announced that the scheme will be extended until the end of October, a further four months. Until the end of July, workers will continue to receive 80 per cent of their current salary, up to £2,500 a month. From the start of August, the scheme will be more flexible, and furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to contribute towards some of the costs of their salaries.
We will continue to do everything we can to ensure people can pay their bills and put food on the table. So as we begin to recover and return to our way of live, it is vital that we all stay alert, so we can control the virus and save lives.
We are supporting businesses and protecting people’s jobs by:
- Extending the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme by four months, until the end of October. The Government will continue to support all employers by providing 80 per cent of furloughed employees’ salaries, up to £2,500 a month until the end of July.
- Providing flexibility to the scheme from the start of August, so that some furloughed workers can start to return to work part-time. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.
- Introducing an unprecedented, world-leading economic response to support businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects. This includes an unprecedented package for the self-employed, loans and guarantees that have so far provided billions of pounds in support, tax deferrals and grants for small businesses. The latest figures show:
- 35,000 CBILS loans, worth over £6 billion, have now been put out;
- Over 267,000 Bounce Back Loans worth over £8 billion have approved during the first week of the scheme;
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses
Today’s announcement has been supported by trade unions and business groups:
- The Trade Union Congress said it is ‘a big relief to millions of working families’. ‘The govt has listened to unions and extended the job retention scheme till autumn. Govt will still cover 80 per cent of wages and has changed the rules to support short-time working, which is key to a gradual, safe return to work. A big relief to millions of working families’ (Twitter, TUC, 12 May 2020, link).
- The British Chambers of Commerce said the extension ‘will come as a huge help and a huge relief for businesses across the UK’. ‘The extension of the Job Retention Scheme will come as a huge help and a huge relief for businesses across the UK. The Chancellor is once again listening to what we’ve been saying, and the changes planned will help businesses bring their people back to work through the introduction of a part-time furlough scheme’ (BCC, 12 May 2020, link).