Furlough extension to April 2021 gives financial assurance, says mia

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has welcomed the Government’s decision to extend the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of mia said: “We are pleased to hear that Rishi Sunak has given advanced notice that the government is extending the furlough scheme by an additional month so that it will run until 30 April. By making this announcement now, it allows the business meetings and events sector the financial assurance to be able to plan longer-term.

“As we continue our ongoing liaison with government, it also provides the sector additional time to demonstrate how we can re-open and operate business meetings and events safely and securely – no matter which tier they are operating within.”

In a statement, Sunak said the extension to the furlough scheme would provide “certainty for millions of jobs and businesses.”

No new adjustments to the furlough scheme have been announced, therefore the government will continue to pay up to 80 per cent of the salaries of employees who have been furloughed.

So far, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) scheme has helped to protect 9.6 million jobs across the UK with more than one million businesses accessing loans to help them through the crisis.

“Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country,” Sunak said.

Businesses that are struggling will also now have until the end of March to access government loan schemes. Sunak also announced the Budget will be announced on the 3 March 2021 which “will set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs.”

The furlough-extension announcement came on the same day health secretary, Matt Hancock announced new tier restrictions to some parts of the UK.

As of Saturday 19 December, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Hertfordshire will be subject to tier three rules, as will parts of Surrey, East Sussex, Cambridgeshire and Hampshire.

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