Rishi Sunak extends coronavirus furlough scheme to April 2021

The coronavirus furlough scheme is to be extended until the end of April 2021.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the extension on Thursday, which will also apply to the Government's pandemic loan scheme.

He also set the date for the next Budget as March 3, which is the same date the next phase of the coronavirus economic support plan will be revealed, the Mirror reports.

The furlough scheme involves the Government paying 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked, to prevent those out of work due to the pandemic from being made redundant.

So far it's has been used to help cover the cost of 9.6 million jobs across Britain, while more than one million businesses have accessed loans to help them through the economic crisis.

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Sunak said: "Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.

"We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable them to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we're providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs."

The Chancellor originally planned to review the furlough scheme in January, but decided to delay it in order to allow businesses to plan ahead.

It means employers will be able to see what the next stage of support looks like before having to make decisions about redundancies.

The original October 31 end date, with furlough extended just a few days before, has been blamed for the surge in redundancies directly preceding it.

An all time record high of 370,000 jobs were lost over the quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Businesses will also now have 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 set to close at the end of January.

A successor loan scheme will be laid out in the Budget on 3 March, the Treasury said.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma, said: "While our loan schemes have provided a vital lifeline to millions of firms across the country, we know that business owners need additional certainty as we head into the New Year.

"Extending government-backed loan schemes will give companies right across the UK the finance they need to support, protect and create jobs as we build back better from the pandemic."

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