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Chancellor extends furlough scheme to end of March

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until the end of March 2021.

The CJRS was supposed to have ended after being scaled back to cover 60% of salaries during October. However, on 31 October Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown for England that runs from 5 November until 1 December.

In a statement to the House of Commons, the Chancellor confirmed that the CJRS will pay up to 80% of an individual's wage, up to £2,500 per month. Mr Sunak stated that the government will review the scheme in January. The Job Retention Bonus, which had been set to take effect from 15 February 2021, will be redeployed 'at the appropriate time'.

The Chancellor also announced more generous support for the self-employed. He confirmed that the next income support grant, which covers the period November to January, will be increased to 80% of average trading profits, up to £7,500.

Commenting on the matter, the Chancellor said: 'We can announce . . . 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 national insurance contributions (NICs) and pension contributions.

'We'll review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.'