Furlough scheme to be extended until September

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to extend the furlough scheme until September in his Budget today.

The furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, with employers asked to contribute to workers' salaries from July, Rishi Sunak is set to announce.

The chancellor will use todays Budget to pledge to continue to help businesses and individuals through the "challenging months ahead - and beyond".

Mr Sunak is expected to say that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has protected more than 11 million jobs since its inception, will remain in place until the end of September.

But the government's contribution will be tapered from July - with employers asked to pay in alongside the taxpayer for the cost of furloughed employees.

In July, employers will be expected to contribute 10%, increasing to 20% in August and September, as the economy reopens.

Employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary for hours not worked until the scheme ends.

The chancellor will also announce further support for self-employed workers, with more than 600,000 people - many of whom became self-employed in 2019/20 - now eligible for cash grants.

A fourth grant from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be available to claim from April, worth 80% of three months' average trading profits up to £7,500.

The Treasury said that hundreds of thousands more people will be eligible for the grants this time, as tax return data for 2019/20 is now available.

Mr Sunak faced criticism that newly self-employed people were unable to benefit from the scheme previously.

The chancellor is expected to outline further details of the proposals alongside plans for a fifth grant.

Ahead of the Budget, he 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."

The chancellor will pledge to use "fiscal firepower" to protect jobs and livelihoods, vowing to do "whatever it takes" to help businesses and people through this "moment of crisis".

He is expected to set out a three-point economic plan focused on supporting people through the Covid-19 pandemic, fixing the public finances and building the future economy.

Mr Sunak will tell MPs: "First, we will continue doing whatever it takes to support the British people and businesses through this moment of crisis.

"Second, once we are on the way to recovery, we will need to begin fixing the public finances - and I want to be honest today about our plans to do that.

"And, third, in today's Budget we begin the work of building our future economy."

The Treasury said the Budget will build on the Government's plan for jobs and the £280 billion package of support during the coronavirus crisis.

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