Businesses shared a sigh of relief when, on Friday 17th April, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that government had been forced to extend its wage-subsidy programme for British workers. The decision followed the announcement that the UK will remain in lockdown for at least another three weeks. With more than nine million employees furloughed in the UK, the extension has enabled businesses to maintain their work force as the economy continues to struggle amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

Just how long the scheme will be extended for remains to be seen, with Sunak claiming: “It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets back up and running again when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to review the scheme so it is supporting our recovery.”

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress has said that “Employers must continue to make full use of the scheme to furlough workers and protect jobs. There is no reason to make staff redundant.”

Despite the CJRS, there has been a sharp rise in claims for universal credit; suggesting that, for many – this remains a period of unprecedented hardship and unemployment.

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