Chancellor Rishi Sunak could extend the leave program again next month, a further sign that the lockdown measures are unlikely to be lifted soon.
The leave program is currently expected to last until April 30, however, with the uncertainty around which parts of society will have reopened by then, there are pressures to expand the program further.
The prime minister is expected to announce his roadmap for ending the lockout on February 22, with schools set to open for the first time on March 8.
Non-essential retailers and hospitality businesses are expected to follow in the coming weeks, meaning some businesses may not be open until the date of the job retention program.
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Businesses in the hospitality sector in particular may still depend on government support, with no guarantees whether they will be able to open to capacity.
However, The Guardian Today (February 18) reports that Rishi Sunak’s budget will provide more support to those affected by the coronavirus, rather than pushing for a quick reopening.
Sources told the newspaper that the budget is “likely to echo Sunak’s fall ‘jobs plan’, expanding key support programs such as leave and business interruption loans.”
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The budget will be announced on March 3, so these measures can be confirmed in advance according to what the Prime Minister announces on February 22.
The steps could allow for a more gradual easing of the lockdown, which could mean a phased approach between each part of the company reopening.
The leave scheme allows employers to claim 80 percent of staff wages, up to 2,500, for those who cannot work due to the pandemic.
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