Posted: Tue 12th May 2020
The government's scheme providing grants to cover employee wages for businesses hit hard by coronavirus has been extended until the end of October.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Job Retention Scheme will continue unchanged until July and then from August until October, furloughed workers will be able to return part-time. Employers will need to pay a percentage towards the salaries of furloughed staff.
Part-time furlough was an issue Enterprise Nation discussed during a meeting with small business minister Paul Scully.
The proportion of employee wages covered by the government remains at 80%.
New statistics published today revealed 7.5m workers have been furloughed and almost one million businesses have used the scheme so far.
Reaction to Job Retention Scheme extension
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: "This will be a relief to the small firms who are unable to operate in the short term. They may now have the ability to work on shaping and developing the business in readiness for when we emerge from this crisis. The number of businesses approaching us for advice on finance has already moved on to those looking for support to build new skills and make plans for re-opening.
"We think the part-time furlough idea for directors is important, but again we'd like to hear more details about how this will operate in practice.
"One caveat to all of this is the nervousness around the mounting but inevitable cost to the taxpayer."
Bounce Back Loans and support for company directors
Taking questions in Parliament, Sunak was also asked whether he will extend the furlough scheme to cover limited company director dividends. As he has noted previously, the chancellor said it's difficult to separate dividends as income from other income but added "my team have considered and are considering proposals" on including dividends in grants.
He also revealed new statistics for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme which provides funding to small and micro businesses. A total of 268,000 loans worth £8bn have been provided so far.
Through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, 36,000 loans worth over £6bn have been approved.
The latest coronavirus support information
We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.