The Treasury explained that the Job Retention Scheme system is able to process up to 450,000 applications an hour. Employers should receive the money within six working days of making an application.The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that the cost of furloughing workers during the crisis would reach a staggering £42billion.
Has the furlough scheme been extended?
Mr Sunak has announced today that he will start to wind down the Government’s furlough scheme for businesses from July, and will extend until October – a month longer than expected.
The extension comes as the Government has decided to ease the lockdown restrictions in place.
The Chancellor was said to be finalising details last night of changes to the scheme, which is currently paying 6.5million workers 80 percent of their wages at a limit of £2,500 a month.
MPs in the House of Commons were told the new extended scheme will include “greater flexibility” in the later months, allowing employees to bring furloughed employees back on a part-time basis.
As he addressed MPs, the Chancellor’s Twitter account posted: “The job retention scheme will be extended, for four months, until the end of October.
“By that point, we will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses. Until the end of July, there will be no changes to the scheme whatsoever.
“From August to October the scheme will continue, for all sectors and regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.
“Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said about the scheme: “It has been one of the most assailant, the most important features of this country’s response so far to this crisis – that we have looked after some of the lowest paid in our society, the hardest working people and we will continue to do so.”
When asked what he would say to people who work in gyms, nightclubs and the hospitality industry who are facing months off work, Mr Johnson said he believes everybody “will recover”.
He told the Sun: “We have an ambition to get at least some hospitality going by July 4, that will be a tough ask, it will be hard to achieve and it depends on a great deal of conditionality that I’ve set out.
“But that’s the ambition, that’s the target that we’re setting, so at least some of the jobs will start to come back.
“And then over the medium term, I’ve absolutely no doubt that the UK economy is immensely resilient and will come back.
“But we’re going to have to think a lot more – if we can’t get a vaccine fast then we’re going to have to think a lot more about how we make our businesses, our lives COVID-secure while continuing with economic activity.
“But we’re a very ingenious bunch, the Brits, I’m sure we’ll find ways forward, and that is what we intend to do.”
The Resolution Foundation has, however, urged the Chancellor to keep the scheme open longer for workers in the hardest hit industries, who may be forced to remain closed for at least the remainder of this year.