Responding to the announcement that the Chancellor has extended the job retention scheme to June, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

“Extending the retention scheme will provide a real lifeline for small employers – giving them space to plan ahead in the knowledge that government support will be there for another month. Following our conversations with government, it’s good to see this step forward.

“With revenues drying up completely over the past three weeks, thousands of small employers have had to pay March’s payroll out of their own pockets. With April’s pay day fast approaching, it’s critical that the job retention scheme is firing on all cylinders when it launches on Monday.

“The retention scheme must pay out swiftly. Until now, the only means to easing the cashflow crunch for many small firms has been the, to date, lacklustre coronavirus business interruption loan initiative. Small business all over the country are on the brink today. They need cash now.”