Will furlough & SEISS be extended again? Fears over job support as lockdown may be delayed

Furlough and SEISS have supported millions of Brits who have been and continue to be unable to work during the coronavirus pandemic. Introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the beginning of last year’s lockdown, the job support packages have managed to maintain jobs that would otherwise have been permanently lost. While the scheme is expected to end in September, there is ongoing speculation they could be extended once more as the country looks to a rising number of cases as a result of the Delta variant first identified in India.

The Delta variant, named B.1.617.2, is now accountable for more than 90 percent of Covid cases in the UK as the number of confirmed infections surpassed 42,000 last week.

The new strain is understood to be much more easily transmissible than its predecessors, particularly the Alpha variant first identified in Kent, or B.1.1.7.

Public Health England (PHE) reports revealed that virus cases are doubling between every 4.5 and 11.5 days depending on the region, and that it has about a 60 percent increased risk of household transmission compared to Alpha.

Confirmed cases in the UK to date have risen by 29,892 to 42,323, with Brits who haven’t been vaccinated urged to come forward and have their jab.

READ MORE: Covid variants: Will they ever stop coming?

Will furlough and SEISS be extended again?

In short, no. The Chancellor will not extend the furlough scheme despite an increasingly likely delay to the easing of restrictions.

The same is understood to be for SEISS, which is expected to begin being phased out by the middle of summer.

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While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not yet formally announced a delay, he’s expected to do so on Monday.

Job support will end all together on September 30, despite many businesses still struggling to get back on their financial feet.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We recognise that the Chancellor has provided long-term support for the sector which extends into the recovery period, but there is no doubt that any extension to the restrictions will be challenging for sectors yet to open and those still trading at a loss to navigate.

“Businesses need a swift, publicly-stated commitment that such support will be in place in the event of any delays, giving them much-needed reassurance after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading.

“Hospitality is desperate to get back to what it does best and can play a key role in the economic recovery of the UK – but only if it is given the proper support.”

Despite a formal announcement yet to be made, it’s been widely reported the Government will announce a four-week delay to restrictions easing on Monday.



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