Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a new local furlough scheme TODAY which ‘will pay two thirds of wages of people who cannot work because of lockdowns’
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak will make announcement on local furlough later today
- The Chancellor is expected to commit to paying two thirds of worker wages
- Subsidy will be available to workers who cannot work because of local lockdown
Rishi Sunak will today announce a new local furlough scheme which is expected to pay two thirds of the wages of employees who are unable to work because of lockdowns.
The Treasury has confirmed the Chancellor will be making an announcement later on how he intends to ‘provide a safety net’ for businesses which ‘may have to close in the coming weeks’.
The promise of fresh support for jobs comes as the Government prepares to unveil its new three tier strategy for local lockdowns next week.
Parts of the country which are put in the highest tier are due to be told that pubs, restaurants and cafes will have to close to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The prospect of widespread closures across the hospitality industry in hotspot areas has prompted warnings of massive job losses and fuelled calls for the Chancellor to bring forward fresh support.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will today unveil a local furlough scheme to help businesses hit hard by local lockdowns
The Government’s original furlough scheme is due to end later this month and it will be replaced by a less generous Jobs Support Scheme.
Furlough saw the Government pay 80 per cent of a worker’s wages up to a monthly cap of £2,500.
But the JSS will only subsidise a fifth of part-time wages for workers who are in ‘viable’ jobs.
The Government has faced sustained pressure to bring forward more help for areas of the country hit by local lockdowns.
Unions have called for the original furlough scheme to be extended but reports suggest Mr Sunak has opted for a less expensive option of paying two thirds of wages.
A Treasury spokeswoman said: ‘The Chancellor will be setting out the next stage of the Job Support Scheme later today, that will protect jobs and provide a safety net for those businesses that may have to close in the coming weeks and months.’
The closure of hospitality businesses is expected to be imposed across large swathes of the north of England where infection rates are particularly high.
Steve Rotheram, the metro mayor for the Liverpool city region, is one of a number of figures to have called on Mr Sunak to extend the same level of furlough support as was available at the start of national lockdown.
He told The Times: ‘If it was right then, it certainly is now — so we need to be seeing local furlough schemes, business grants and financial support for the self-employed and those who cannot work from home.
‘Otherwise, the money spent earlier in the year to protect jobs and businesses earlier in the year will have been wasted.’
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has warned ‘the damage to the economy of the North will be deep and lasting’ if the Government does not extend the furlough scheme.
Reacting to the news that 465 jobs are set to be lost at Manchester Airport, he tweeted: ‘The Government’s line is that these jobs are ‘not viable’. I say that they are.
‘(Without) an extension to the main furlough scheme, the damage to the economy of the North will be deep and lasting.’