The UK government has announced a five-month extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), as well as an increased support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
The furlough scheme will now run until the end of March 2021, with employees receiving up to 80% of their salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month — employers are currently being asked to cover only their employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions for hours not worked.
The government said this CJRS extension will be reviewed in January to examine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions.
Support for self-employed workers through the SEISS has also been increased, to offer a third grant covering November to January 2021 calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.
Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, commented: “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.”
The chancellor also announced an increase in the upfront guarantee of funding for the devolved administrations from £14 billion to £16 billion to help support individuals, workers and business in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The announcement means a total increase of at least £8.2 billion of additional funding for the Scottish government to cope with the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as £5 billion for the Welsh government and £2.8 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive, on top of their Spring Budget 2020 funding.