Firms that survived the first lockdown are bracing themselves for yet more hardship after the Government announced the country will return to national measures on Thursday, until at least December 2.
Under the latest rules, household mixing will be banned across England, non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will close, and people will only be able to leave home for exercise, to buy essentials, for medical reasons, for education, or to go to work where they cannot work from home.
The furlough scheme, due to close on November 1, will be extended for a further month, covering 80pc of wages capped at £2,500 per month before tax.
But the extension has been attacked by Britain’s big business groups amid warnings that uncertainty over the duration of a second lockdown risks unleashing a wave of job losses and corporate failures this autumn.
Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said proposals for what has been described as a “rolling furlough” programme with no clear end date is making it impossible for companies to plan.
“Business communities enter a second lockdown in a much weaker position than they did the first,” he said.
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