The Government’s coronavirus furlough scheme will reportedly be extended into the summer.
Rishi Sunak’s Spring Budget – to be laid out next week – will include the Chancellor again drawing out the income support programme until at least July, it has been claimed.
Boris Johnson announced a roadmap to re-opening England during Monday night’s Downing Street briefing, which gave promise to many businesses crippled by the pandemic.
The PM said the country is approaching “seasons of hope” that will usher in changes making lives “incomparably better” as he set out a plan to ease the lockdown by June 21.
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It means by midsummer all legal restrictions could be abolished, with the Conservative leader admitting the draconian rules can’t remain indefinitely.
Mr Johnson said the successful vaccine roll out has meant the lockdown could hopefully be lifted sooner than anticipated, but it still depends on the data.
But in doing so, he said his government will do whatever it takes to ensure Brits whose work places remain closed for the foreseeable future get the support they need and he “will not pull the rug”.
“For the duration of the pandemic the government will continue to do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods,” he told the nation.
3.8 million people were relying on furlough by Christmas last year, but during the first lockdown the figure had peaked at 8.9 million.
Mr Sunak remains under pressure to extend measures such as the furlough scheme, which is due to expire at the end of April, when he delivers his Budget on March 3.
Senior government insiders told The Sun that furlough bailouts will continue into July at least.
They told the newspaper: “Obviously Rishi will be making a big announcement about this next week.
“But it is safe to say that Covid measures aren’t going to be turned off.”