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Chancellor confirms furlough scheme will not be extended for creative industries

The news comes a week after the Culture Secretary said guidance over reopening without social distancing may not come until November

Wyndham's Theatre
© Alex Wood

For hundreds of venues across the UK, the furlough scheme has been a vital support system to keep employees in work while the pandemic continues.

Today Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed that the scheme will not be extended for individual sectors or those in need.

Talking on BBC Breakfast , Sunak said that "the government has helped pay wages for eight months. There is still support there – the job retention bonus means that for every successful employee that you can bring back from furlough and re-employ through to January, the company will receive a thousand pounds."

He went on: "The theatre and entertainment sector is one of our great strengths as a nation, we've provided £1.5bn which was warmly received, to help them bridge to what is quite a while before they can operate as normal. Those funds are being distributed now."

Last week the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden unveiled how exactly the £1.57bn package will help support the arts. Contrary to Sunak's statements on BBC Breakfast, applications for grants and loans have not yet opened and money is not expected to be given before the early autumn.

Mere days later, Dowden stated that it may not be until November that venues can know when exactly they'll be able to reopen without social distancing in place.

The Prime Minister was forced to delay the reopening of indoor venues with social distancing in place as a greater rate of transmission of the coronavirus was recorded in locations across the country.

Meanwhile, venues across the UK continue to make increasing numbers of redundancies, with Birmingham Hippodrome, Mayflower Southampton and New Wolsey Theatre all revealing recently that their workforces were to be scaled back.