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Economy Minister Diane Dodds today welcomed the decision by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by another month until the end of April 2021.

The Minister said: I welcome the Chancellor’s decision to extend the Job Retention Scheme to the end of April. It has been my consistent position that the furlough scheme must remain in place to support employees and businesses in Northern Ireland as long as restrictions continue.

“Throughout my engagement with the National Government, I have made the point that businesses must be able to access the support they need. The extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April 2021 does provide both workers and their employers with a degree of protection.

“The fact that the Government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked will allow businesses to plan ahead into 2021 while the process of economic recovery takes shape.”