Lockdown easing delay: Treasury rejects calls for extension to furlough and financial support

The Government has confirmed it will not heed calls from industry to further extend furlough and other financial support as the Prime Minister announced a delay to his original road map out of restrictions.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. The Government has confirmed it will not heed calls from industry to further extend furlough and other financial support as the Prime Minister announced a delay to his original road map out of restrictions.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. The Government has confirmed it will not heed calls from industry to further extend furlough and other financial support as the Prime Minister announced a delay to his original road map out of restrictions.

It said there will be no changes to the original timings regarding the end to current financial support measures.

The delay announced by Boris Johnson means that the road map easing earmarked for June 21 in England will be delayed for four weeks to July 19.

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This means that pubs, restaurants, cinemas and many other venues will continue to face limits on numbers and distancing restrictions, while nightclubs will remain shut.

Furlough support currently allows businesses impacted by the pandemic the ability to keep workers on with an 80% wage subsidy from the state.

This is due to taper off from the end of this month, moving to a 70% state subsidy supported by a 10% employer contribution in July, tapering further before ending completely in September.

It is understood that the Government’s original decision to taper support until the autumn was due to potential uncertainty regarding the schedule of the road map.

Hard-hit hospitality, leisure and retail firms have also benefited significantly from the current business rates holiday and ban on commercial evictions, which will also alter in the coming weeks.

These firms will pay no business rates until the end of this month, with this changing to a 67% discount with a £2 million cap until the end of the financial year.

Meanwhile, commercial property evictions have been banned until the end of June and landlords will have the potential to take tenants to court again from next month for not paying rents despite some still being impacted by restrictions.

Sector leaders and trade groups had called for these support measures to be extended until all pandemic restrictions are lifted.