The Chancellor announced today (5 November) that the furlough scheme will extended for a further five months until the end of March.

Support for millions more workers through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will also be increased, from 55% to 80% of average profits - up to £7,500.

On top of this, the government has announced:

  • cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed worth more than £1 billion every month
  • £1.1 billion is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly
  • plans to extend existing government-backed loan schemes and the Future Fund to the end of January, and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans
  • an extension to the mortgage payment holiday for homeowners
  • up to £500 million of funding for councils to support the local public health response.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The extension of the furlough scheme will come as a huge relief to many of our businesses, and gives some certainty through these challenging times.

“The further increase and extension to support for the self-employed is also to be welcomed, as is the further guaranteed funding for devolved administrations. However, there are sadly still plenty of ongoing challenges. Respecting health remains the priority, the ongoing detrimental effect that the default position of working from home is having on our city centre and our retail and hospitality sectors that rely on this footfall, is one of these.

“For some, this announcement will have come too late, particularly if they were forced to make redundancies before the date indicated by government today as the cut-off to be put back on furlough.

“As with everything this year, things continue to evolve rapidly and we hope these measures will go some way to bring a slight respite locally. The knowledge that this is now in place until the spring brings with it more structured support and certainty and Aberdeen Inspired will continue to support our businesses on the ground as best we can.”