Follow Wild Scotland
Facebook Blog Twitter Instagram
Bookmark and Share

Stay up to date with Wild Scotland and sign up for our Newsletter

The UK scheme to pay wages of workers on leave because of coronavirus will be extended to October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said

Mr Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500.

But he said the government will ask companies to “start sharing” the cost of the scheme from August.

A quarter of the workforce, some 7.5 million people, are now covered by the scheme, which has cost £14bn a month.

The chancellor said that from August, the scheme would continue for all sectors and regions of the country but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.

Employers currently using the scheme will then be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.

Mr Sunak will attempt slowly to reduce the cost to the taxpayer of the subsidy scheme, but full details are still to be worked out.

However, sources have told the BBC the Treasury stills expects to be paying more than half the costs between August and October.

Later on Tuesday, in an interview with the BBC, Mr Sunak said the number of job losses “breaks my heart”, adding: “That’s why I’m working night and day to limit the amount of job losses.”

Cliff edge

Mr Sunak told the Commons said: “I’m extending the scheme because I won’t give up on the people who rely on it.

“Our message today is simple: we stood behind Britain’s workers and businesses as we came into this crisis, and we will stand behind them as we come through the other side.”

There has been growing concern about the cost of the scheme, and last week Mr Sunak said it could not continue in its current form.

However, he was under pressure to announce changes soon to avoid a so-called “cliff edge” in which employers begin mass redundancies.

Any company seeking to cut more than 100 jobs must run a 45-day consultation, meaning 18 May was the last date employers could start this process before the furlough scheme ended in June.

The chancellor rejected suggestions some people might get “addicted” to furlough if it was extended.

“Nobody who is on the furlough scheme wants to be on this scheme,” the chancellor said. “People up and down this country believe in the dignity of their work, going to work, providing for their families, it’s not their fault their business has been asked to close or asked to stay at home.”

 

READ ON

View All Industry News Items