UK government expands its job support program with stricter virus lockdowns due next week

The U.K. government has expanded its jobs support program as the country gears up for tighter coronavirus restrictions set to be announced next week.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street after attending a Cabinet meeting on 14 February, 2020.


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Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street after attending a Cabinet meeting on 14 February, 2020.

Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said Friday that firms whose premises have to shut over the winter period as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work.

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Two weeks ago, Sunak announced the Job Support Scheme — a new emergency package of measures to contain unemployment, replacing the U.K.’s furlough scheme which is due to expire at the end of October.

It will directly top up the wages of employees working fewer hours due to suppressed business demand, enabling workers to keep their jobs on shorter hours rather than being made redundant.

The original furlough scheme in the summer had subsidized 80% of wages for millions of workers furloughed as a result of the pandemic. But Sunak confirmed in July that it would be wound down as the country began to emerge from coronavirus lockdown measures.

—CNBC’s Elliot Smith contributed to this article.

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