Sunak says job retention scheme is expensive, should end by October

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s coronavirus job retention scheme is expensive and cannot continue indefinitely, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday after announcing the government would extend it by four months to October.

Asked by a lawmaker in parliament whether the scheme would end in October, Sunak said: “Of course we will keep everything under review, but my expectation is by then the scheme should end.”

“We have stretched and strained to be as generous as possible to businesses and workers ... this scheme is expensive. It is the right thing to do - the cost of not acting would have been far higher - but it is not something that can continue indefinitely into the future.”

Reporting by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg, Writing by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison