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Chancellor rejects pleas for furlough extension

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has rejected calls for an extension to the furlough scheme and business rates relief, despite COVID-19 restrictions extending by a month.

The temporary social security scheme is set to begin phasing out from 1 July and end completely on 30 September 2021.

But with national unlocking now scheduled for 19 July, Labour and business leaders are saying that a failure to maintain economic support measures in line with public health restrictions would push struggling businesses into bankruptcy, risking thousands of jobs.

Ed Miliband, shadow business secretary, said many businesses are concerned about the removal of support while they are still unable to trade or profit, adding "the price of any delay to the roadmap must not be paid by businesses".

Sources close to the Chancellor allegedly said that he believed sufficient measures were already in place to cope with a delay, while his decision for furlough to last until September was in case of unlocking delays.

At the start of July, employers will have to start contributing 10% of an employee's wage payable under furlough, rising to 20% in August and September. Employees will continue receiving the same amount.

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