The government will extend its furlough programme for those unable to work due to the coronavirus crisis until the end of October, Rishi Sunak has announced.
The Job Retention Scheme pays 80 per cent of the monthly wages (up to £2,500) of 7.5 million workers.
It will remain unchanged until the end of July, and then continue to October in all sectors and regions with “greater flexibility” to support the transition back to work, the Chancellor told MPs.
Mr Sunak said from August employers will be able to bring furloughed staff back to work part-time and the government will ask them to begin “sharing” the cost of salaries.
He stressed that workers will continue to receive the same level of support as they do now and said full details will follow by the end of May.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said she had only heard about the changes “in the last few seconds” and will examine them “very, very carefully”.
The Labour front bencher criticised alleged comments attributed to government officials that suggested people need to be “weaned off an addiction” to the scheme.
She said people did not want to be furloughed, adding: “It’s critically important they are not penalised for that choice.”
Mr Sunak said he had never used and did not agree with the word “addiction”.
“People up and down this country believe in the dignity of their work, going to work, providing for their families, it’s not their fault their business has been asked to close or asked to stay at home,” he said.
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