Furlough extended until end of September in move affecting millions of workers

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The furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September in a move that will affect millions of workers.

Employers will be asked to contribute to employees' salaries from July with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to pledge to continue to help businesses and individuals through the "challenging months ahead – and beyond".

Mr Sunak is being tipped to say that the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has protected more than 11 million jobs since its inception, will remain in place until the end of September.

But the government's contribution will be tapered from July – with employers asked to pay in alongside the taxpayer for the cost of furloughed employees.

Employers will be expected to contribute 10% of salaries from July, rising to 20% in August and September as the economy reopens.

The Chancellor will also announce further support for self-employed workers, with more than 600,000 people – many of whom become self-employed in 2019/20 – now eligible for cash grants.

Ahead of the Budget, Mr Sunak said: "Our Covid support schemes have been a lifeline to millions, protecting jobs and incomes across the UK.

"There's now light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap for reopening, so it's only right that we continue to help business and individuals through the challenging months ahead – and beyond."

Mr Sunak will tell MPs: "First, we will continue doing whatever it takes to support the British people and businesses through this moment of crisis.

"Second, once we are on the way to recovery, we will need to begin fixing the public finances – and I want to be honest today about our plans to do that.

"And, third, in today's Budget we begin the work of building our future economy."

Last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the roadmap for exiting lockdown, which features a phased reopening of schools, retail and hospitality firms.

Torsten Bell is the chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, which focuses on improving living conditions for those on low and middle incomes.

He said: "It's welcome that the furlough scheme that has seen British workers through this crisis will remain in place until restrictions are lifted, playing a critical bridging role between the lockdown and the recovery.

"The phased tapering off over the summer will also avoid a risky cliff-edge. But the peak of unemployment is ahead rather than behind us.

"We also need to see wider economic stimulus to drive the recovery this autumn, and support for the millions of people who have been without work for long periods during this crisis."

  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus
  • Boris Johnson

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