Furlough has offered help to over nine million people whose employment has been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as it is commonly known, has covered a percentage of individuals’ salaries for hours they have not worked. It has meant many people have been able to keep their jobs, but take a period of leave where they have received some of their salary.
A further extension of support measures could provide firms with the opportunity to keep more people employed further into 2021.
It would eliminate some tough decisions which businesses are mulling due to mounting costs brought about by restrictions and lockdown measures.
However, it would also mean a higher cost on the public purse, which is also a concern going forward.
Apprehension about the impending deadline was also expressed by Chief Economist for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Rain Newton-Smith, who similarly called for an extension.
They must pay the wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked, alongside NICS and pensions for hours not worked.
It is not yet clear if the government will take any decisions to extend support measures, however, the Chancellor has stated financial plans will be outlined in the upcoming Budget set for March.
Announcing the decision to extend furlough support back in December, Mr Sunak said it was important to provide support into the new year.
He commented: “Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.
“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes.
“This is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Treasury for comment.