Rishi Sunak extends furlough to businesses facing local lockdowns

Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme for businesses that are under local lockdowns.

The UK chancellor said on Friday that the government will pay two-thirds of employees’ salaries if their workplace is affected by the new measures.

The Treasury announced plans to pay up to £2,100 per month to pay staff wages.

Sunak said: “Throughout the crisis the driving force of our economic policy has not changed. I have always said that we will do whatever is necessary to protect jobs and livelihoods as the situation evolves.

“The expansion of the Job Support Scheme will provide a safety net for businesses across the UK who are required to temporarily close their doors, giving them the right support at the right time.”

The news comes at a time when local lockdowns are expected to hit more areas across the north of England.

Despite the government help offered, many are saying the government is not going far enough to support the hospitality sector. 

Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, said: “The chancellor could have changed course on Monday, but he offered nothing. On Tuesday, we dragged his minister to parliament – but he had nothing to say either. Media briefings suggest he’s now ready to tear up his winter economy plan before the autumn is even out. This is serial incompetence at the heart of government.

“The chancellor’s constant flip-flopping on furlough is putting 900,000 jobs at risk. If he doesn’t act now, Britain risks an unemployment crisis greater than we have seen in decades – and Rishi Sunak’s name will be all over it,” she added.