The UK scheme to pay wages of workers on leave because of coronavirus will be extended to October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said.
Mr Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500.
But he said the government will ask companies to “start sharing” the cost of the scheme from August.
A quarter of the workforce, some 7.5 million people, are now covered by the scheme, which has cost £14bn a month.
The chancellor said that from August, the scheme would continue for all sectors and regions of the country but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.
Employers currently using the scheme will then be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.
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