Government ‘open minded’ about extending furlough scheme, says Gove

Government ‘open minded’ about extending furlough scheme, says Gove

Boris Johnson’s government is “open minded” about extending the furlough scheme, a senior member of the cabinet has claimed.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon will use a four-nations summit with the prime minister on Thursday to push for the job retention scheme to continue beyond its current September expiry date.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has now indicated it could be continued. Asked about the possibility of an extension, he said: “We are open minded, yes.”

Mr Gove said the furlough initiative – which sees the taxpayer pay cash towards workers’ wages – had been a “huge success” that was only possible “thanks to the broad shoulders of the UK Treasury”.

Earlier on Thursday, Scotland’s deputy first minister John Swinney said he believed that it should be possible to have additional, targeted furlough support for the hard-hit arts sector.

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