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Boris Johnson to announce four-week delay to initial end of lockdown date

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed he won’t extend the furlough scheme

International Consolidated Airlines Group - Boris Johnson to announce four-week delay to initial end of lockdown date

Boris Johnson is expected to announce that lockdown won’t end on 21 June as previously planned, but four weeks later due to concerns over the Delta variant.

It means that the current restrictions will remain in place, with sports, pubs and cinemas sticking to limited capacity while nightclubs will stay closed.

The Commons will vote on the extension over the coming weeks and the Conservative backbenches could rebel, according to the BBC.

However, the furlough scheme will be wound down by the end of this month and Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed he won’t extend it as several businesses requested.

The scheme is currently covering 80% of wages of people not working because of restrictions, but the funds will be reduced to 70% from 1 July and cut completely by September.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to update the nation at 6pm on Monday.

The delay is putting further pressure on the hospitality industry, which is estimated to lose £3bn worth of lost sales in four weeks.

“Leisure companies could be worst affected by any delay to lockdown easing in England as it will require a continuation of the social distancing rules, meaning pubs and restaurants can’t operate at full capacity,” noted Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“However, investors don’t seem too bothered by the risk, perhaps because speculation points to a mere four-week delay, albeit during a seasonally busy time.”

“Airlines fared worse as any cautious tone by the Government doesn’t bode well for relaxing guidance on foreign travel. The travel sector is waiting with bated breath to start taking more passengers overseas, but hopes are fading for widespread flying this summer.”

In fact, the biggest loser in the FTSE 100 was British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (LON:IAG), down 3% to 197.29p, while fellow airline easyJet plc (LON:EZJ) shed 2% to 940.2p on Monday morning.

Wagamama owner Restaurant Group PLC (LON:RTN) was also down 2% to 126.52p, with publican Marston's PLC (LON:MARS) dipping 1% to 90.15p.

Quick facts: International Consolidated Airlines Group

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LSE:IAG

Price: 175.0703 GBX

Market Cap: £8.7 billion

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