UK Chancellor Admits Easing of Lockdown Could Be Delayed, as Furlough Extended to September

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Chancellor Rishi Sunak holds press conference on 2021 Budget on March 3, 2021 in London, England. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, presented his second budget to the House of Commons. He has pledged to protect jobs and livelihoods as the UK economy has faced crisis during …
Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has said the furlough scheme was extended because “things might change”, suggesting that Britain might not see the full lifting of coronavirus restrictions by June 21st.

On Wednesday, Mr Sunak announced an extension of the furlough scheme beyond the end of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” for taking the country out of lockdown.

Asked on Thursday why the salary compensation scheme was renewed three months beyond the prospective end of lockdown, Sunak told Good Morning Britain: “We did that for a couple of reasons. I wanted people to have the reassurance that we were going long, beyond the end of the roadmap, because, of course, things might change.

“We wanted to accommodate even the most cautious view of exiting the restrictions.

“Now, hopefully, that won’t happen, and we’re making great progress and thanks to everyone involved in the vaccination drive for making that possible.”

The finance minister 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 get back to the way they were, so I think it is important to provide that extra cushion.”

Last week, the prime minister outlined five key dates for the staged lifting of restrictions, starting with schools opening on March 8th, along with two people from different households being allowed to socialise, and a full lifting of all measures by June 21st.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said recently that he was confident of the June lifting and was “optimistic for a great British summer”.

He added: “I’m now more optimistic about having a great British summer than I have been at any time, thanks to the speed and the effectiveness of the vaccine rollout.”

There have been concerns raised in recent months of when England’s third lockdown would be lifted. When Prime Minister Johnson announced the shutdown on January 4th, he did not give an end date, with successive remarks putting the possible release of society later and later in the year.

Last month, Chancellor Sunak even reportedly said that he was “concerned” that public health officials and government scientific advisors were “moving the goalposts” of the Johnson administration’s COVID-19 response tactics in order to justify keeping the country under lockdown.

Follow Breitbart London on Facebook: Breitbart London

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.