Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme to September – here’s what that means for you

The first furlough scheme ended on 31st October, but was extended in England to cover the next four-week lockdown. Then Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that he would be extending furlough until the end of March 2021.

And now, Rishi will announce he is extending the furlough scheme until the end of September in his Budget.

Rishi Sunak said the scheme – which pays 80% of employees’ wages for the hours they cannot work in the pandemic – would help millions through “the challenging months ahead”.

In other good news, around 600,000 more self-employed people will also be eligible for government help as Rishi will announce access to grants is widened.

Employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours their staff do not work in July, increasing to 20% in August and September, as the economy reopens.

Speaking ahead of the Budget, the chancellor said: “Our Covid support schemes have been a lifeline to millions, protecting jobs and incomes across the UK.

“There’s now light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap for reopening, so it’s only right that we continue to help business and individuals through the challenging months ahead – and beyond.” However, he is expected to warn in his Budget that there are tough economic times ahead.

James Andrews, personal finance expert at money.co.uk says: “Following several days of speculation and debate surrounding the future of furlough, the Chancellor has announced that the scheme is to be extended beyond April, up until the end of September 2021.

“But while workers will be able to receive the same amount of money all the way through to October, 80% of their wages up to £2,500 a month, it will start getting less generous for employers from the end of June, by which time lockdown restrictions are expected to be over.

“In July employers will be expected to contribute 10% of a furloughed employee’s wages for the hours they aren’t working, while in August and September that will rise to 20%.

“Bosses will also have to pay pension and National Insurance contributions for furloughed staff.

“Keeping energy bills down through switching to a new tariff, and budgeting regular outgoings effectively will help those manage their finance on a reduced income. Additionally, banks have extended customers payment breaks, through schemes such as mortgage payment holidays and the credit card repayment freeze.

“If you are concerned about racking up accumulating larger debt, it is vital that you seek expert help. Free services such as Citizens Advice, or StepChange Debt Charity can help those struggling, manage debt.”