Martin Lewis says furlough system has ‘chasm of holes’
The £60bn scheme, which pays as much as 80 percent of laid-off workers’ wages, is due to expire at the end of April but Mr Sunak is said to be considering a range of options to support jobs into the summer months. Insiders said any new measures to shield jobs from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic would be unveiled by the Chancellor when he delivers his budget on March 3.
Support for jobs isn’t going to end
One official said a lot depended on the success of controlling the Covid-19 pandemic over the next six weeks but stressed boosting employment will be at the centre of Mr Sunak’s statement.
He said: “Support for jobs isn’t going to end.”
Another Treasury source said extending the furlough scheme beyond its April cut-off was one of the options being considered by the Chancellor.
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Mr Sunak has been coming under growing pressure from business chiefs to offer clarity over the scheme.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the Chancellor to announce an extension to the furlough scheme and business rates holiday before the Budget.
The CBI said businesses cannot be expected to wait nearly two months to know whether support will be extended beyond the current deadlines.
Director-General Tony Danker said: “Our Covid-related business support asks are about moving now or soon, rather than waiting until March 3.
“Business support needs to go in parallel with the tiering of restrictions.
“Sudden stops and cliff edges really don’t help and I don’t think anybody in Government believes that we’re going to have a sudden opening up with the economy.”
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