Furlough Scheme Extended until March 2021
Amongst the headlines that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has extended the furlough scheme, some may have missed the small print - the scheme has been extended until March 2021.
The furlough scheme, which has propped up over 9 million jobs throughout the pandemic was set to come to an end on Saturday 31st October. However, with the Prime Minister’s announcement of a second national lockdown Saturday night, the Chancellor was forced to extend it beyond its initial life span. The scheme pays ‘80% of wages for hours worked by employees’ according to the Treasury’s website. This comes on top of a range of spending measures which have attempted to keep the U.K. economy afloat during C Ovid related restrictions.
Former CBI boss Lord Digby Jones has stated that ‘Many businesses will close Wednesday night and never reopen’. He went on to say:
"A second national lockdown will be the final nail in the coffin for many businesses".
Here's the thing, whilst the government has said that it expects that this lockdown will last no longer than December 2nd, the Furlough Scheme has been extended to March 2021, making it clear that the government actually believes that the lockdown is likely to go beyond December.
There is increasing speculation that the government will review the lockdown on 2nd December, lift it temporarily for Christmas and New Year and then reimpose it until the spring.
Covid Lockdown Data Wrong
In the meantime the UK Statistics Authority has criticised the government for using "out of date" projections that "over-estimated deaths" by as much as four times.
The Authority also revealed that the data presented by the government in support of the imposition of the second lockdown had already been updated and corrected, but despite this the government knowingly presented the old, incorrect and over-inflated data in what seems to have been a deliberate attempt to misled the public as to the seriousness of the viral infection rate.
The damage to the economy caused by this second lockdown is presently incalculable.