UK not minded to extend furlough scheme, minister says

by Reuters
Wednesday, 23 September 2020 07:00 GMT

(Adds comments, background)

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Britain's finance minister is not minded to extend a furlough scheme that is currently scheduled to stop at the end of October, his colleague Dominic Raab, foreign minister, said on Wednesday.

"I don't think the Chancellor's minded to wholesale extend the furlough scheme, we are looking at the targeted measures," Raab told Sky News on Wednesday.

Britain announced new restrictions on pub and restaurant opening times on Tuesday after a surge in COVID-19 cases in September and warned that the measures could last for six months.

Opposition leaders have been calling for the scheme to be extended to avoid a cliff edge effect they fear could see many people lose their jobs for good, particularly as new COVID-19 restrictions could hamper the economic recovery.

Raab said that the finance minister Rishi Sunak kept all measures under review, and that new help for employers through the retention bonus and the kickstart scheme would help avoid a cliff edge, but the furlough would not be the answer.

"I think it's inevitable that the furlough scheme will come to an end in the way that the chancellor has described," he told the BBC. (Reporting by Kate Holton and Sarah Young, writing by Estelle Shirbon; editing by James Davey and Andy Bruce)

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