Rishi Sunak delivered the annual Budget on Wednesday, March 3. The Chancellor poured billions into schemes like furlough and SEISS to prevent further job losses, with the schemes extended beyond the end of current coronavirus restrictions and well into the autumn.
Mr Sunak pledged to “continue doing whatever it takes to support the British people and businesses through this moment of crisis”.
The Budget was met with a mixed response, with some praising Mr Sunak’s support and others saying it did not go far enough.
More than four million people are currently furloughed from their jobs in the UK as a result of current lockdowns.
The Chancellor made a point of saying the roadmap out of lockdown is “cautious but irreversible”, with all restrictions expected to be lifted in England on June 21.
“The Budget set that out yesterday. The furlough extension was a part of that, we did that for a couple of reasons.
“I wanted people to have the reassurance that we were going long.
“This is beyond the end of the roadmap, though of course things might change.
“We wanted to accommodate even the most cautious view of exiting the restrictions.”
He added: “But it is also important to remember that just because the restrictions end businesses will still need to take time to recover, things will take a bit of time to where they were.”
Social media users raised suspicion that the furlough scheme has been extended all the way to September.
One said: “The furlough and June 21 date are not matching.”
Another remarked: “Lockdowns and furlough tend to go hand-in-hand, so maybe it’s an indication of plans for this year.”
One user said: “Anyone still thinks we are coming out of lockdown needs their heads checked. They extended furlough for a reason.”
Others were supportive of the Chancellor’s measures.
One user said: “Country may be back to “normal” by June in the sense of covid disruption but businesses will struggle still, extended furlough may mean they are able to keep people employed until they are in a better more stable position.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Treasury for comment.