Will furlough be extended for the November national lockdown and what are the rules?
31 October 2020, 20:34
The furlough scheme will be extended for the new national lockdown in England - here's your need-to-know on the scheme.
Today (31 October), Boris Johnson announced that England will be going into a month-long national lockdown next week.
From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, all pubs, restaurants and essential retail will shut, while people will be told to stay at home except under certain circumstances.
Speaking at a press conference at No10 Downing Street this evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We have got to be humble in the face of nature, in this country alas - as much of Europe - the virus is spreading much faster than the reasonable worst case scenario.
"Unless we act, we could see death in this country at several thousand a day, a bigger mortality than in April."
Detailing the new rules, he added: "From Thursday, until the start of December, you must stay at home - only leave for education, for work, for exercise and recreation outdoors with your household, on your own, or one person from another household, for medical reasons, escape from danger or harm, and to shop for food and essentials".
What will happen to the furlough scheme?
Furlough - a government scheme that pays some of the wages of people who cannot work due to the pandemic - was due to end in October, but Boris Johnson announced today that it will continue for the month of November during the lockdown - and it will be restored to the original 80 per cent of salary.
He said: “I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I'm truly, truly sorry for that."
“And that's why we're going to extend the furlough system through November.
“The furlough scheme was a success in the spring, it supported people and businesses in a critical time.
“We will not end it. We will extend it further until December.”
The furlough scheme was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier in March, and paid 80 per cent of the salaries of workers who were kept on by businesses but couldn't work due to the pandemic (up to a maximum of £2,500 a month).
The amount paid was gradually wound down over summer, and had been due to stop completely in October.
What are the new lockdown rules?
You can find out your need-to-know on the new lockdown rules here.