In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, the Chancellor has announced that the furlough scheme will be extended by a further four months.
Statistics reveal that the job retention scheme has protected 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses. 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.
The Chancellor’s decision to extend the scheme, which will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, comes after the Government outlined its plan for the next phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The scheme is just one part of the Government’s world-leading economic response to coronavirus, including 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.
New statistics show businesses have benefitted from over £14 billion in loans and guarantees to support their cashflow during the crisis. This includes 268,000 Bounce Back Loans worth £8.3 billion, 36,000 loans worth over £6 billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and £359 million through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
Paul Britton, CEO of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce commented:
“Yesterday’s announcement from the Chancellor to extend the job retention scheme for an additional four months will be a huge relief for businesses and households across the Thames Valley.
“Many will have been worried about redundancies or whether demand and other trading conditions will improve enough to be able to restart in the weeks ahead. The extension provides a much-needed safety net for employers and their employees during these incredible and testing times.
“For those not eligible for furlough, the self-employed grant scheme is available, and while gaps remain in the scheme this does provide improved levels of support.
“We are using our reach into the local business community to ensure that concerns and on the ground experiences are shared locally with MPs across the region and fed into the British Chambers of Commerce, who are supporting our local efforts by lobbying the Treasury and HMRC.”
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