| 24 May 2024, Friday |

UK furlough scheme ends amid calls for further support

The UK’s furlough scheme closes on Thursday, but some negatively impacted sectors are saying support should continue.

Furlough was introduced in March 2020 and helped pay the wages of 11.6 million workers after Covid-19 forced large parts of the economy to close.

At the end of July it was still helping the incomes of around 1.6 million workers, the latest HMRC figures show.

The chancellor said he was “immensely proud” of the near $94 billion scheme, but now was the right time to close it.

The policy, officially known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or CJRS, accounts for around one-fifth of the money the government has spent on the response to the pandemic.

While it has been widely praised for protecting millions of jobs, firms in sectors where business has still not returned to normal say they need further support.