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Tuesday, May 12, 2020, latest;

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Government’s furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.

Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500, but that the Government will ask companies to “start sharing” the cost of the scheme from August.

Employers currently using the scheme will then be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.

The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of this month.

In the evening briefing, Business Secretary Alok Sharma gave an update on the UK death toll, which has risen by 627 to 32,692, while it was also confirmed that 85,293 tests were carried out yesterday.  Sharma said that as a nation, we need to ‘stay alert and control the virus’.

“In order to monitor our progress we are establishing a new Covid alert system. It will be based on the R value and the number of cases.

“Social distancing remains critical.”

Sharma also touched upon the Chancellor’s announcement, saying that the extension of the furlough scheme gives “certainty”.