Chancellor insists he will not extend furlough scheme beyond October

7 August 2020, 09:17 | Updated: 7 August 2020, 09:20

By Adrian Sherling

Rishi Sunak has told LBC he will not extend the furlough scheme beyond October - even though they know it will cost jobs.

The government has paid the majority of the wages of 9.6million people since the scheme was launched in April.

That is due to finish on 31st October and yesterday, James O'Brien warned of a huge looming cliff-edge which will see hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs.

But speaking to LBC, Mr Sunak insisted the scheme cannot go on indefinitely.

He said: "This has been a difficult decision. But if you look at it from start to finish, the government will have been stepping in to pay people's wages for eight months, which in and of itself is a very long period of time.

"Most reasonable people will look at that and say this is something which cannot go on indefinitely. It's not sustainable."

Tom Swarbrick spoke to Rishi Sunak during the Chancellor's trip to Glasgow
Tom Swarbrick spoke to Rishi Sunak during the Chancellor's trip to Glasgow. Picture: LBC

Tom Swarbrick asked him whether they have done an assessment on the number of jobs which will be lost when furlough ends.

Mr Sunak responded: "In common with most countries around the world, their versions of this are mostly coming to an end at the end of the this year.

"That doesn't mean that there is no support. We've put in place something called the Job Retention Bonus, which means that if you are a company which can successfully bring someone back from furlough and productively employ them through to January, then you will get £1,000.

"If you look at the wage distribution of people on furlough, that works out as quite a significant economic benefit to do so. That will make quite a difference we believe.

"It's clearly not the case that everyone can return to the job that they had. It would be wrong to pretend otherwise.

"For those people, rather than keeping them trapped in the uncertainty of a future we know won't exist, it's better to look forward and for us to provide them with new opportunities."

Watch his interview at the top of the page.