The jobs furlough scheme set up in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak is to be extended until the end of March, Rishi Sunak has told the Commons.
In a major U-turn by the Government, the Chancellor said the move is needed because of the economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Sunak said the Government's highest priority remains "to protect jobs and livelihoods".
To give people across the UK certainty over the winter, I can announce today that the furlough scheme will not be extended for one month – it will be extended until the end of March.
Employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month. pic.twitter.com/WtTqOcR61a
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) November 5, 2020
He had previously extended the furlough throughout November due to the second national lockdown in England.
The Chancellor told the Commons: "We can announce today that the furlough scheme will not be extended for one month, it will be extended until the end of March.
"The Government will continue to help pay people's wages up to 80% of the normal amount.
"All employers will have to pay for hours not worked is the cost of employer NICs and pension contributions.
"We will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more."