Charities can furlough staff until end of June, Chancellor says

Charities' employees eligible for the scheme will have 80 per cent of their wages covered for an additional month

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Photograph: Matt Dunham – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Photograph: Matt Dunham – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Charities will be able to use the government’s furlough scheme for an additional month.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said today that because of the extension of social distancing rules for at least another three weeks, all eligible organisations would be able to furlough staff until the end of June.

Furloughing involves the government paying 80 per cent, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, of the salaries of employees who have been sent home because of the pandemic. 

The scheme has been widely used in the voluntary sector, with some charities hit hard by a loss of fundraising and trading income in the wake of Covid-19’s spread across the UK.

Oxfam, Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Now, the National Trust, Help for Heroes, the RNLI and Barnardo’s are among the major charities that have opted to furlough staff during the pandemic.

The scheme was backdated to 1 March and was due to run until 30 May, but will now cover an additional month, with social distancing measures expected to continue for a number of weeks more. 

The government said the scheme had kept millions of people in work, but would be monitored so that people could return to work as soon as it was safe to do so and to get the economy moving again.

The scheme could be extended further if required, said the Chancellor.

Sunak said: “With the extension of the coronavirus lockdown measures yesterday, it is the right decision to extend the furlough scheme for a month to the end of June to provide clarity.

“It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets up and running again when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to review the scheme so it is supporting our recovery.”

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