Businesses and employees suffering because of coronavirus restrictions will be further supported by extended government handouts and loans schemes.
The Chancellor has announced continued support for the UK workforce through yet another extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention (furlough) Scheme, which will now operate until the end of April.
The scheme, which was originally due to run for three months from last March, has repeatedly been extended, with the Government continuing to contribute 80% towards people’s wages for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Businesses struggling during the continuing economic disruption will also be supported through an extension to government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes. Firms now have until the end of March to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These had been due to close at the end of January, but have also been repeatedly extended.
These changes come ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3 March 2021. The Government says the extensions to the business loan and furlough schemes will enable businesses to plan prudently and access support in the first few months of 2021, ahead of a further update on wider COVID-19 economic support.
The Government has already announced that more support will be available beyond March, through a successor loan scheme. More details will be announced in due course.