Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that the furlough scheme will be extended across the UK until the end of March, 2021.

Sunak said that the scheme will pay up to 80% of a person's wage up to £2,500 a month, telling the House of Commons that the government will review the policy in January. As from now, all furlough payments are to be reinstated—though not to those he previously excluded, like sole traders and freelancers—until March next year.

After unveiling the Job Retention Scheme in September and telling musicians that they should try and "find new opportunities" last month, Sunak has now announced billions of pounds of other support for the economy, including more money for self-employed people, despite previously insisting he "wouldn't endlessly extend" the scheme. 

Support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is set to be increased, with the third grant covering 80% of average trading profits from November 2020 to January 2021, up to a maximum of £7,500, while guaranteeing funding for the UK's devolved administrations by £2bn to £16bn.

The chancellor said his intention was "to give businesses security through the winter," before adding: "The security we are providing will protect millions of jobs." Sunak also defended his rapid change of policy, saying: "It is not a weakness to be fast-moving in a crisis, but rather a strength."

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