UK coronavirus live: businesses await details of Sunak's furlough U-turn


Latest updates: Unions, business leaders, devolved administrations and the north all anticipating the chancellor’s Commons statement this afternoon

9.27am GMT

“I really do not know how to exhaust my affirmative vocabulary any further,” Boris Johnson told an SNP MP in the Commons yesterday, as he was asked for the umpteenth time if the government would agree to fund a furlough scheme beyond November, if Scotland needed a lockdown but England didn’t. “They won’t take yes for an answer.”

This issue has been bubbling for three days now and this afternoon in the Commons we should finally get a resolution. It might sound technical – Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will explain how furlough policy might operate going into the new year – but it’s about how power and spending is distributed around the UK, and about the extent to which devolution will allow lockdown policies to vary.

Related: Chancellor expected to extend furlough beyond December

As lockdown shutters come down for many firms, extending furlough till next Spring is the right thing to do. Firms and employees need more certainty and stability to plan and recover; a JRS extension will help. @RishiSunak should act in his statement tomorrow to protect jobs.

Working families need financial security to get through the times tough ahead. And employers need an end to last-minute decisions. The chancellor must extend the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed into the spring.

Despite repeated calls this week for full details of the prime minister’s commitment to a Scotland-only furlough and SEISS [self-employed income support] scheme, we are still no further forward and remain in the dark about what these schemes will look like … I hope that today’s statement will at last give us the clarity we require.

Does this mean we have finally agreed the principle of an 80% furlough for everyone in a business forced to close?

Let’s hope so.

Related: Coronavirus live news: England begins lockdown as Russia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland see record case rises

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