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Rishi Sunak hopes new scheme will be 'safety net'

Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme by six months, providing support for businesses that are forced to close shop as a result of further lockdown restrictions.

The scheme was due to close completely at the end of October, but the Chancellor has said it will now run on to help companies and employees that are pushed to the brink of collapse by the pandemic.

Businesses that are legally required to shut for a period over the winter as part of local or national restrictions will be able to receive grants from the Government to pay the wages of staff who cannot work.

Employers will be able to receive two thirds of employee salaries, up to a maximum of £2,100 a month, and will not be required to contribute towards wages. Businesses must cover National Insurance and pension contributions but in reality the Government expects only half of firms will need to pay these costs.

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