The chancellor has announced this lunchtime (Dec 17) that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of April 2021.
Rishi Sunak said the government will continue to pay 80 per cent towards employees wages to support businesses into the new year.
The furlough scheme was running until the end of March after the last extension made in November.
The chancellor had said he planned to review the employer contribution in January but decided to bring this forward to help businesses plan for the New Year.
The publication from the Treasury revealed that it will continue to pay 80 per cent of hours not worked, while employers will need to pay wages for the hours worked but National Insurance contributions and pensions for all hours – worked or not.
Sunak said: ‘Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.
‘We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.’
Business secretary Alok Sharma said: ‘While our loan schemes have provided a vital lifeline to millions of firms across the country, we know that business owners need additional certainty as we head into the New Year.
‘Extending government-backed loan schemes will give companies right across the UK the finance they need to support, protect and create jobs as we build back better from the pandemic.’