// Chancellor Rishi Sunak extends coronavirus job retention scheme until end of March
// The scheme covers up to 80% of employees’ wages up to £2500 a month
// A review of the policy is currently scheduled for January
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme until the end of March.
Sunak said the extended support scheme will continue to cover up to 80 per cent of employees’ wages up to £2500 a month.
A review of the policy is currently scheduled for January “to decide if economic circumstances have improved enough to ask employers to contribute more”.
The scheme, which was previously set to expire at the end of November, will “protect millions of jobs” according to Sunak.
The Chancellor also said it will “give people and businesses up and down our country immense comfort over what will be a difficult winter”.
He added that the government still intended to lift the national lockdown, which came into place on December 2.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced a second lockdown for England, starting on Thursday and lasting four weeks.
This overlaps with the 17-day firebreak lockdown currently happening in Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland continue have their own restrictions in place.
“The government’s intention is for the new health restrictions to remain only until the start of December, but as we saw from the first lockdown the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses and areas than the duration of any restrictions,” Sunak said.
The extension means Sunak has scrapped the job retention bonus, which incentivised businesses to keep employees on payroll through to the end of January next year, with a new employment incentive programme to be deployed at a later date.