Coronavirus outbreak: UK government to pay 80 per cent workers' wages, says Rishi Sunak

Updated: Mar 22, 2020, 07:50 IST | Agencies | London

"Today I can announce for the first time in our history the government is going to step in and pay people's wages," he said, addressing the daily Downing Street briefing alongside British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who had pledged to do "whatever it takes" to save people's jobs and livelihoods through the coronavirus pandemic, on Friday unveiled an "unprecedented" wage boost to his COVID-19 rescue package.

Britain's Indian-origin finance minister announced that the UK government would pay 80 per cent of wages for employees not working, up to 2,500 pounds a month. "Today I can announce for the first time in our history the government is going to step in and pay people's wages," he said, addressing the daily Downing Street briefing alongside British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"We said we would stand together with the British people and we meant it," he said. A coronavirus job retention scheme will mean companies will be able to contact
the tax department, HMRC, for a grant to provide most of the wages for people who are not working but are kept on payrolls. And, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme will be interest free for 12 months, rather than six months as initially planned, with loans available from Monday. In order to provide "further cashflow support", the Chancellor said he will defer the next quarter of VAT payments.

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