Furlough scheme extended until March and self-employed grant boosted again
The government has announced a five-month extension of the furlough scheme while the self-employed will be eligible for a third grant worth up to £7,500.
The original furlough scheme was due to end in October but it was extended to cover the second lockdown period in England through to 2 December.
However, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that furlough – the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – will now run until the end of March 2021. It will provide 80 per cent of wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 a month.
Meanwhile, self-employed workers who were expecting to receive a third grant of 55 per cent of trading profits for November to January (capped at £5,160) will now be eligible to receive 80 per cent of trading profits, capped at £7,500 for the quarter.
This is up from the original Self-employment Income Support Grant (SEISS) extension which was going to cover just 20 per cent of profits up to a maximum of £1,875 before the announcement of a second lockdown in England.
Sunak said: “I’ve always said I would do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK and that has meant adapting our support as the path of the virus has changed.
“It’s clear the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses than the duration of any restrictions, which is why we have decided to go further with our support.
“Extending furlough and increasing our support for the self-employed will protect millions of jobs and give people and businesses the certainty they need over what will be a difficult winter.”
As part of the furlough extension, Sunak confirmed there are currently no employer contributions to wages for hours not worked. Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and pension contributions for hours not worked.