Rishi Sunak considers fifth furlough extension

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the further extension would mean "certainty" for millions of jobs
David Cliff/NurPhoto/PA Images

Rishi Sunak is mulling over an extension to the government’s furlough scheme beyond the end of April, and could announce the move in his 3 March Budget.

The chancellor is looking at options to extend the job retention scheme into the summer as the latest pandemic lockdown in the UK is likely to continue for several months.

The scheme, which sees the government pay up to 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month, was originally supposed to end at the end of May 2020, but was extended until the end of June then until 31 October that year. It was then extended until 31 March 2021. But in December, as Covid cases accelerated and measures tightened leading to a further lockdown, it was extended until the end of April 2021.

Bloomberg has reported that a source close to Sunak had told it that “support for jobs isn’t going to end” while most businesses cannot open and that the chancellor was likely to extend the furlough scheme beyond April.

The news comes a few days after two of the UK’s most prominent business groups, the CBI and the British Chambers of Commerce, called for an extension of Sunak’s furlough scheme.

Covid cases are now slowly falling although deaths are at their highest ever point as the UK rolls out the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also called for an extension of the furlough scheme and a continued business rates holiday past March.

He said: “Current plans to end the business rates holiday in March and then the furlough scheme in April create a huge financial cliff edge for employers.”

“Without the certainty that support will remain in place for as long as it is needed, many more businesses could decide to cut their losses and close permanently now.”

CBI director-general Tony Danker earlier this week said support must remain in proportion with Covid restrictions.

“If the government plans to continue its support then I urge them to take action before the budget which is still more than six weeks away,” he said. “The rule of thumb must be that business support remains in parallel to restrictions and that those measures do not come to a sudden stop, but tail off over time.

“Just as the lifting of restrictions will be gradual, so must changes to the government’s sterling support to businesses.”

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24 Responses to Rishi Sunak considers fifth furlough extension

  1. Avatar
    William bateman 21 Jan 2021 at 8:08 pm #

    Still no support for newly self employed people , let to fall through the cracks once more with no help nor even acknowledgment from any mps . While big businesses like McDonald’s still thrive and are allowed to stay open . Get your priorities right and help people who need helping. Not just let them go unheard and unspoken of.

    • Avatar
      Natalie 22 Jan 2021 at 10:34 pm #

      Newly self employed in a pandemic? Surely you knew what you was letting your self in for setting up during a global lock down.

      • Avatar
        Joanne 25 Jan 2021 at 6:02 pm #

        That also applies to people who were newly self employed just prior to the Pandemic. Who hadn’t yet completed a tax return and didn’t see this coming. I would imagine like most people. Why should people who are trying to better theirselves by starting their own companies suffer? My sister being one of them.

    • Avatar
      Jennifer 23 Jan 2021 at 6:11 am #

      Hope this helps, check your local council website and see if you are eligible and can apply for a local restrictions business grant. I was not able to get the self employed grant for same reason but was given help with these new grants.

    • Avatar
      Khan 28 Jan 2021 at 1:16 am #

      True I’m agree with u

    • Avatar
      Jin 4 Feb 2021 at 12:49 am #

      Oh dear you just noticed the government don’t care about you! They only care about the rich and themselves unless you can make millions until then you will keep falling through the cracks

  2. Avatar
    Kopa 21 Jan 2021 at 10:33 pm #

    They’re never going to let us out we are being kept prisoner in our own homes

    • Avatar
      Georgiana Alexandru 25 Jan 2021 at 10:35 am #

      I am a cleaner, and from last March i had off just 1 day a week or 3 days payed holiday. I want to have more time off bu i can’t so enjoy the rest… Because you take money staying home.

  3. Avatar
    Emma 22 Jan 2021 at 11:11 am #

    If this is the case then Rishi Sunak needs to ensure support to the newly self employed and business owners who have fallen through the cracks!! Business closed, 5 staff on furlough, I have to pay NI, tax, holiday pay, over business overheads and personal expenses out of universal credit. Only just getting by this is absolutely ridiculous

  4. Avatar
    Kico 22 Jan 2021 at 2:09 pm #

    Great stuff Rishi.
    Why are you a prisonor, I’ve been out today.

    • Avatar
      Adam 22 Jan 2021 at 11:28 pm #

      That’s why this shite still goes on. Stay in follow government guidelines to god’s sake.. you can’t get infected if you stay in your house. its simple. Like you

  5. Avatar
    Marco 22 Jan 2021 at 6:08 pm #

    Prisoner!? Roll back the clock 70 years and see how oppressed it was back in WW2, see what the word prisoner actually means

  6. Avatar
    Rossana 22 Jan 2021 at 11:09 pm #

    Now employers are forncing mums to speak to the headteachers to allow your child in ,so they come back to work

  7. Avatar
    Adam 22 Jan 2021 at 11:26 pm #

    What about limited companies. I’m now nearly a year with total earnings of less than a thousand pounds and been given nothing.
    My partner has a business she had just started before lock down.
    We have two children no money. Can work as we have to home school…. Come on Rishi you have got to help us please I’m begging you.

    • Avatar
      Martin 22 Feb 2021 at 6:08 pm #

      Don’t forget Adam, us Ltd Co workers (primarily self employed) were awarded a “loan”, which we have to pay back, whereas self employed have been GIVEN 3 grants, which will probably be 4 very soon, all off which does NOT have to be paid back.
      That my friend us “not Fair”….

  8. Avatar
    ele rea 22 Jan 2021 at 11:36 pm #

    2.9 million excluded tax payers hoping for support.

  9. Avatar
    Liz Hackett 23 Jan 2021 at 7:01 am #

    What about part time workers who are not entitled to furlough…. how do you expect them to survive financially. Have you considered the affect on their mental health !!

  10. Avatar
    Hannah 23 Jan 2021 at 7:12 am #

    Help is also needed for the ones who managed to land a new job after oct last year, furlough is not an option for those people, your either let go or put on unpaid leave. UC doesn’t pay enough to help support ridiculous high rent costs! If this scheme gets extended then the eligibility needs to be changed along with it to help those who started new employment after Oct.

    • Avatar
      Frank 25 Jan 2021 at 12:32 pm #

      I agree I keep worrying that I’m going to lose my job or put on unpaid leave at some point I started my job 2nd nov after being made redundant from my previous job in middle of September.

  11. Avatar
    louise lawson 24 Jan 2021 at 9:30 pm #

    Falling through the crack of furlough scheme many who weren’t on payroll before 30th October and unable to get re employed by previous employer, no income and no help from local authorities even when applying for discretionary payment.
    Who knows when we may be able to return to work and can’t get any support

  12. Avatar
    Ronald Masters 24 Jan 2021 at 10:19 pm #

    The 5th leg of the furlough scheme at the beginning of May 2021, should include all employees who are having to endure tramatic, financial burdens, this government are a bloody disgrace, wasting billions on their friends, who had no bloody clue what they were doing. Come in Britain wake up to these awful parisites.

  13. Avatar
    thomas Lyth 26 Jan 2021 at 12:43 am #

    10 percent of taxpayers have been left without support, after paying tax and are going to be paying tax to support the scheme they were excluded from.
    10 percent that’s around 5 million people, we must demand support from our constituency!!!!

  14. Avatar
    You wish 2 Feb 2021 at 8:14 pm #

    Discrimination just as it has been for legacy benefit claimants ie disabled and carers saving the government thousands caring for family members not putting them in homes! Disabled people who cant work.
    Measly £20 uplift given to universal credit per week and fulough 80% self employed got 80% if they were eligible.
    Those who were newly self employed (not during the pandemic but before life turned crappy) and legacy benefit claimants git screwed with no help at all.
    Discrimination all over!
    Tories for you, whoever voted these narcissistic a holes in again need a slap, theyve never cared for those who arent rich 10 years of cuts not bad enough??

    • Avatar
      tommy 10 Feb 2021 at 8:57 pm #

      stop moaning the government should have paid every one on the furlough scheme unemployment Benefit sounds to me like you all want mega bucks for doing nothing you cannot go out and spend the dosh why should the key workers go out to work and earn they pay when you want paying to sit at home nice and safe then moan to many people trying to rip the government off most places will stay shut but will milk the furlough scheme for as long as they can at the end of the day be thank full you for what you have got. i bet most of you moaners will be the first ones to have money for a night out

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