Sunak to extend UK furlough scheme to end of March 2021

Rushi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that he will extend the furlough scheme until the end of March in all parts of the UK to pay up to 80% of a person’s wages to a maximum of £2,500 a month and he will review the policy in January.

The chancellor said that his intention was “to give businesses security through the winter” and while it has been roundly welcomed by trade bodies, broader support is still needed says Kate Nicholls, CEO, UK Hospitality.

She said, “Extending the furlough scheme is a big boost and will help secure hospitality jobs in the medium term across the whole of the UK. Keeping jobs alive during this lockdown and throughout a bleak-looking winter period, which is likely to see businesses trading under severe restrictions, is key to the future survival of the sector.

“Hospitality is facing a tough winter ahead, though, and businesses will need additional support if they are to survive. We will needenhanced grant support to keep venues alive and a solution to the ongoing rent debt problem that continues to linger over the sector. These must come alongside a clear roadmap for a return to business. Without these, the extended furlough scheme alone is not enough to keep hospitality alive and will have been a wasted investment of public funds.

“Surviving the winter is just the first step, too. Beyond that we need action to ensure that businesses can be revived and the sector can play its part in rebuilding the economy. Extending the VAT cut and business rates holiday, coupled with extensive Government promotion of tourism and hospitality, will be the bare minimum required.”

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance added,

“Today’s announcement by the Chancellor to extend furlough to March 2021, covering up to 80% of a person’s salary will come as a huge relief to tourism businesses across Scotland, as will the confirmation of the extra £1BN funding to the Scottish Government to allocate in response to the Covid challenge. However, furlough alone will not help the industry to survive as we move into what has now become known as ‘the third winter’ for the sector.

“Both UK and Scottish governments must continue to recognise the urgent need for more robust funding to be channelled into the sector by way of additional grants so that businesses can remain solvent through to Spring 2021.

“There continues to be gaps in government support as some in the industry remain excluded from these schemes, and there are many in the vital supply chain that will also need to be assured of guaranteed grant support to help them through the winter months.

“We very much hope that the both governments recognise this and that the additional £1BN made available to the Scottish Government will allow them to allocate realistic sums to address those gaps and provide a sufficient level of grant support to tourism and hospitality businesses in the coming weeks ahead.”

The announcement came on the back of the Bank of England  pumping an extra £150bn into the economy, with it warning that the resurgence of Covid-19 would lead to a slower recovery.

About £40bn has been spent on the furlough scheme since it was introduced in March and about 9.6 million people have benefited from it so far.


Category: News
Tags: Chancellor Rishi Sunak, furlough, furlough extension