Rishi Sunak warns end of lockdown could be delayed as ‘things might change’

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Rishi Sunak has hinted the escape out of lockdown could be delayed as Boris Johnson's roadmap 'might change.'

It comes as weary Brits are desperate for some light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, but the Chancellor warned things may not go to plan.

He made the comments while explaining his recent move to extend the furlough scheme until September affecting millions of workers.

Speaking this morning, Mr Sunak said he made the call because of the more ‘cautious views’ of when lockdown looked likely to end – causing concern that the highly-anticipated D-day of June 21 could be delayed.

Asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain why the furlough scheme, designed to help those not working due to the coronavirus crisis, was extended beyond June, he said: "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 road map, because of course things might change.

"We wanted to accommodate even the most cautious view of exiting from the restrictions – hopefully that won’t happen, we are making great progress, and thanks to everyone involved in the vaccination drive for making that possible.

"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."

In yesterday's budget employers were told to contribute to employees' salaries from July with the Government continuing to paying 80% of workers’ salaries until September.

The Chancellor pledged to continue to help businesses and individuals through the "challenging months ahead – and beyond".

Last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the roadmap for exiting lockdown, which features a phased reopening of schools, retail and hospitality firms.

As it stands, the schedule begins with schools opening on March 8, with added precautions such as masks in classrooms to ensure a reduced spread of the virus. The stay at home order will be lifted on March 29.

Outdoor hospitality venues – including pubs with gardens – could reopen as early as April 12, with indoor hospitality following possibly suit from May 17.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon bosses confirmed it plans to reopen to the public on April 12. Beer gardens, rooftop gardens, and patios at 395 of its 750 locations in England are said to open its doors to the public as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

  • Good Morning Britain
  • ITV
  • Coronavirus

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