In November 2020 the UK Government announced that the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would run to the end of March 2021. The CJRS was then extended to the end of April 2021, as the UK went back into ‘lockdown’ in specific regions and then on a national basis.
Plans for exiting the lockdown restrictions in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been announced under which parts of the economy will re-open gradually (e.g., in England non-essential retail premises may re-open on 12 April 2021, provided that the UK government is satisfied that the 4 criteria set out in its ‘roadmap’ guidance of February 2021 (COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 (Summary) are met and continue to be satisfied). Other sectors of the economy such as hotels and some indoor entertainment venues, subject to capacity restrictions, will re-open at later dates from mid-May and businesses such as nightclubs will only be permitted to re-open “no earlier than” 21 June 2021. The devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are each setting slightly different timetables for lifting their lockdown restrictions.
In his budget announcement made on 3 March 2021 the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that the CJRS will now operate to 30 September 2021 in order to “provide protection to businesses and individuals that continue to be affected by the restrictions”. This extension reflects the need to provide continued support to businesses and employees as the pandemic is brought under control, legal restrictions are lifted, and businesses are permitted to fully re-open in a phased and cautious manner.
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