Fresh lockdown restrictions in England have sparked fears of hundreds of thousands of job losses as the Government’s furlough scheme begins to wind down.

From today, employers will start paying National Insurance and pension contributions for their staff, the first easing of a scheme that has paid the wages of more than 9 million workers since March.

It comes after a wave of new coronavirus infections prompted Boris Johnson to reimpose lockdown restrictions in some areas of north west England, and postpone the reopening of certain businesses including bowling alleys and casinos.

Meanwhile, a Spitfire plane emblazoned with the names of 80,000 NHS staff will carry out a flypast over hospitals in Kent today in a tribute to key workers.

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Live Updates

2020-08-01T06:07:31.013Z

Good morning and welcome to the Evening Standard’s coronavirus live blog for Saturday, August 1.