The leader of the country’s leading union, Unite, is demanding that the government extends the job retention scheme to provide our country with the same economic stability as our European competitors.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:"The government must not repeat the mistake of the last time round when it delayed on extending the jobs retention scheme only to do so at the eleventh hour. That dithering sent workers to the dole queue.  

"All we're asking for is the same stability as our competitors. Italy, France and Germany all have superior and lengthier furlough schemes. They will emerge from this crisis in a far better shape than this country as a result.

"The government must state now that the JRS will be extended. Workers and employers can't wait until March for the Budget. Fix furlough and extend it, now."