Today the chancellor will extend the furlough scheme until the end of September as he makes his Budget speech later today.
In an unexpected move, the chancellor will say that workers will continue to be guaranteed 80% of their salary for a further three months after the government envisages all restrictions on activity will be removed in June. Employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours their staff do not work in July, increasing to 20% in August and September, as the economy reopens.
Rishi Sunak said the scheme – which pays 80% of employees' wages for the hours they cannot work in the pandemic – would help millions through “the challenging months ahead”.
Some 600,000 more self-employed people will also be eligible for government help as access to grants is to be widened.
IoD National Director Robert Lloyd Griffiths said:
“Business leaders will breathe a sigh of relief that the furlough scheme has been extended further into the year.
“Many firms have tapped into the Job Retention Scheme to support their cashflow while restrictions have eaten into their revenues, and without it jobs losses would be even higher. By extending support until end-September, the Chancellor has also given many businesses an extra cushion as they attempt to rescale and rehire when the economy reopens.
“Widening the eligibility for self-employed income support is also welcome step, as many have gone without significant earnings for almost a year. Small company directors who have also been ineligible for Government support will also be hoping for provisions in the Budget.
“It is important the Chancellor builds on these announcements in the Budget, by extending more of the Government’s covid-19 economic support package beyond the spring, and by providing a stimulus to jumpstart business growth and investment.”
Today our industry editor Chris Kelsey will be pulling together what today's budget means for Wales, for inclusion in our budget special tomorrow.