Lunchtime summary: Sunak surprise

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a longer-than-expected extension to the government's grant scheme for furloughed workers. The scheme will continue to pay workers 80 per cent of their salary until the end of October, he said. The government will cover those payments until the end of July, and from August, will split payments with employers.

The number of deaths in care homes in England and Wales is now outstripping deaths in hospitals, new Office for National Statistics data has showed. 

The figures also showed that the number of extra deaths during the pandemic compared to the past five years has reached 46,500. Only 72 per cent of those "excess deaths" have been attributed to Covid-19, leaving 13,237 unexplained. Many will be linked to the pandemic in some way.

The better news is that deaths in all settings is falling, and that England and Wales have passed the peak death rate for now.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport has released new guidance for safe travel, which recommends people "face away" from other passengers on public transport if they cannot keep a two-metre gap.

In the big news of the day, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is about to talk in the House of Commons, and he is expected to extend the government's furlough scheme. New Statesman political editor Stephen Bush has written about why it's a risky gamble that's based on three big economic bets.

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