Rishi Sunak is set to extend the government’s furlough scheme past the end of April.
As the UK is likely to continue Covid restrictions into the summer months, Sunak is drawing up plans to continue the scheme. It was supposed to end October 2020. The chancellor is set to have a budget on 3 March where he may lay out the plans.
This comes just days after the CBI urged Sunak to extend the furlough scheme.
The furlough scheme sees the government pay up to 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month.
CBI director-general, Tony Danker, said: “Many tough decisions for business owners on jobs, or even whether to carry on, will be made in the next few weeks.
“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.
“The government has done so much to support UK business through this crisis, we don’t want to let slip all the hard work from 2020 with hope on the horizon.
“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,” he said.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has also called on the chancellor to extend the scheme past march, saying that “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.”
The CBI has estimated that extending the furlough scheme to the end of June could cost the government £6bn. It has so far cost a total of £82bn.