Rishi Sunak announced furlough scheme updates

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled plans for employers to start paying towards the wages of their furloughed staff.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) let businesses bring back staff part time from July, but introduce a taper requiring firms to contribute to salaries from August.

From August, employers must pay National Insurance and pension contributions, then 10% of pay from September, rising to 20% in October.

Also, workers will be allowed to return to work part-time from July, but with companies paying 100% of wages.

Mr Sunak said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will adjust so "those who are able to work can do so".

Some 8.4 million workers are having 80% of their salaries paid for by the government - up to £2,500 a month - under the scheme, which was originally intended to last until the end of July.

Earlier this month, the chancellor extended the scheme until the end of October but did not spell out how employers would start contributing.

Under today’s changes, furloughed workers will continue to get 80% of pay until the end of October, but by then a fifth of their salary will have to be met by employers.

The government said the furlough scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June and the programmes of financial support will not be extended past October.

Employers' claims under the scheme have reached £15bn so far, however the scheme is expected to cost a total of around £80bn, or £10bn a month.

Mr Sunak has also announced that financial help will be extended for self-employed for a further three months, although the grant available will be reduced by 10%, to 70% of profits.