Johnson rules out extending furlough beyond September

Boris Johnson (PA Wire)
14:55pm, Wed 30 Jun 2021
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The Prime Minister has ruled out extending the furlough scheme beyond September.

Changes to the scheme are due to be introduced from Thursday, with employers having to pick up 10% of their furloughed workers’ salaries following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in recent months.

Under the original road map plan, all measures were due to have been scrapped on June 21 but Boris Johnson opted to delay by a month in a bid to vaccinate more of the population against the Delta variant.

The final stage of the road map has since been pushed back until July 19.

The furlough contribution from employers is due to rise after that date to 20% in August and September, with the scheme closing before October.

The SNP led calls at Prime Minister’s Questions for furlough to be extended beyond September, in recognition that some sectors would struggle to get back up and running after months of closures.

But Mr Johnson said that the UK had the “highest and strongest” immunity against the Delta mutation and argued there was no need for furlough to continue.

This is the only country or the country where the protection by immunity against the Delta variant is the highest and the strongest. And that’s why we’re going to continue with our cautious but irreversible road map ...

SNP health spokeswoman Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire) said: “Due to his failure to maintain strict border quarantine and the delay in adding India to the red list, cases of the Delta variant are surging across the UK.

“As well as a marked regional variation, the biggest ongoing impact is on sectors such as hospitality, entertainment and aviation.

“So rather than starting to reduce financial support from tomorrow, will the Prime Minister agree to extend full furlough and business support beyond September, particularly for those geographical areas and businesses which are most affected?”

Mr Johnson replied: “No, because although the Delta variant is indeed seeded and growing in at least 74 countries around the world, including this one, this is the only country or the country where the protection by immunity against the Delta variant is the highest and the strongest.

“And that’s why we’re going to continue with our cautious but irreversible road map and I hope it will command her support.”

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