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Chancellor extends furlough and Coronavirus loan schemes

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme for one month until the end of April next year in a move he said would provide “certainty for millions of jobs and businesses”.

He also confirmed he would be extending the Government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme – until the end of March.

These changes come in the run-up to the next Budget, which the chancellor confirmed would take place on March 3, 2021.

Suren Thiru, the British Chambers of Commerce Head of Economics, said: “Cashflow remains an urgent concern for many businesses, so the extension to the Government-backed loan schemes is a common-sense step.  

“However, it is concerning that many firms who bank with non-accredited lenders remain effectively locked out of these vital financial lifelines. Government, regulators and banks must work together to ensure that all eligible firms can access this support to help them weather this challenging period.

 “Government must also be ready to further expand the existing grant schemes to ensure that as many businesses as possible get access to the support they need.”

Commenting on the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April, BCC Director of Policy, James Martin, said: “The extension to the furlough scheme is a welcome move and will provide much needed certainly and support that many need to protect jobs and livelihoods. 

“Over the coming months, the Government should continue to listen to business and evolve it support measures with the on the ground impact of the pandemic.

“Further cashflow support will be needed for companies who are unable to operate for an extended period, or those who face reduced capacity or demand due to ongoing restrictions.”

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