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5 November 2020, 12:30 | Updated: 5 November 2020, 13:49
Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the furlough scheme will be extended until March.
After the coronavirus furlough scheme was initially due to end in October and then pushed back to December, Rishi Sunak has confirmed the programme will be extended until the end of March 2021 in a bid to protect jobs as the country enters into a second national lockdown.
Addressing the House of Commons, Sunak told MPs of the extension of the scheme and outlined his plans for further financial support in the coming months.
He told MPs: "Given this significant uncertainty, a worsening economic backdrop... We can announce today the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March. The government will continue to pay 80 per cent of employees' wages.
"In January we will see if the economic circumstances are enough to ask employers to subside."
The job retention scheme was due to replace the furlough scheme at the start of November, but given the second national lockdown, this will be introduced at a later date.
Sunak added: "Instead we will redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time."
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.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) November 5, 2020
Employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month. pic.twitter.com/WtTqOcR61a
The furlough scheme guarantees 80 per cent of wages up to £2,5000 a month for people unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The scheme was introduced in March this year at the start of the pandemic, to prevent mass redundancies.
An estimated two million people were still on furlough at the end of October.