Boris Johnson announced the furlough scheme is to be extended following confirmation of a second national lockdown.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail across the nation will close from Thursday, and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, but schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.

MPs will vote on the new measures before they are introduced at 00.01am on Thursday, and when they lapse on December 2, the current tier system will be reintroduced.

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The hope is that Covid-19 cases will drop low enough to keep on top of outbreaks at a regional level.

But with the high street shutting up shop again, the Prime Minister announced an extension of the furlough scheme.

Furlough will now be payable at 80% for the duration of the package of tougher national measures.

Mr Johnson said: "I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I'm truly, truly sorry for that.

"And that's why we're going to extend the furlough system through November.

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"The furlough scheme was a success in the spring, it supported people and businesses in a critical time.

“We will not end it. We will extend it further until December."

It will have some differences to March in that these measures will be "time-limited", starting on November 5 and ending on December 2.