Rishi Sunak to set out new ‘furlough’ scheme TODAY which could pay 2/3 of wages for businesses forced to close
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak will today set out a bumper new financial package for businesses that might have to shut again next week – which may pay up to two thirds of wages.
He will make a statement about the next stage of the Job Support Scheme, which is due to start on November 1, taking over from the furlough scheme which is coming to an end.
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Rishi Sunak will set out his financial package today[/caption]
It comes as Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a new tiered system for the country – which may include new coronavirus restrictions for areas with the highest infection rates.
Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle are expected to see their hospitality – cafes, pubs and restaurants – ordered to shut temporarily to curb the virus as early as Monday.
A Treasury spokesperson said today: “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”.
It’s essentially confirmation that some places WILL have to shut again in the coming days.
Reports suggest today that the new scheme will support two thirds of workers’ wages in areas where their businesses are forced to shut their doors.
Mr Sunak revealed his new Job Support Scheme last month for firms which still needed help – but announced the Government would only be paying 22 per cent of wages – with employers expected to top up the rest.
Many critics said it wouldn’t be enough if businesses were ordered to close.
Earlier this week Mr Sunak said new national restrictions were not appropriate and the Government thinks local lockdowns are still the right way to go.
But damning evidence has shown that 19 out of 20 local lockdown areas have shown the numbers have gone up since restictions were in place.
Most parts of Northern England including Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds are already under local lockdowns.
They are banned from seeing friends and family in any indoor setting – but schools and offices are exempt.
People can face a £200 fine for breaking the law.
In many areas people are also told not to use public transport unless they have to.
SCOT CIRCUIT BREAKER
Later today Scotland will go into a 16-day mini lockdown, where pubs will be unable to sell alcohol inside.
Cafes and restaurants will face even stricter curfews of 6pm.
And scores of venues on Scotland’s central belt will have to close their doors completely.
But a huge row has broken out about implementing further restrictions in England.
Northern leaders reacted with fury for not being kept in the loop over the plans, and for the fact new financial plans haven’t yet been laid out.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said last night that he would try and block plans without a full furlough scheme in place for businesses that had to shut.
And ministers are under fire after failing to produce evidence on how many cases actually are found in hospitality.
One MP claimed the Government has “cobbled together” statistics to shutter pubs and restaurants, putting the jobs of thousands on the line.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned of more than 300 intensive care patients in just 21 days from now unless urgent action is taken to stop the spread.
A cross part group of 149 MPs representing the North and Midlands were briefed by Professor Whitty.
But they claimed they were shown “meaningless” and highly selective figures to “retrospectively” prove the need for closures, the Telegraph reports.
Data for pubs relied on just 98 cases in which two or more people who were infected had reported being in the same place.
The Cabinet Office document is now being referred to as a “dodgy dossier” by MPs.
What new restrictions Boris Johnson could announce next week?
The most extreme option the PM has on the table is for a two-week circuit breaker to slam the breaks on the current rate of infections.
If the PM deems the virus is about to spread out of control he could decide to shut down all businesses for a period of time, and may even urge people not to use public transport either.
The aim would be to curb infections spreading even further, and to stop hospitals becoming particularly overwhelmed in the weeks to come.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon locked down pubs in central Scotland for at least two weeks to tackle a coronavirus surge.
She ordered that no one was able to drink inside for 16 days to try and tackle the spread.
Tiered lockdown system
Mr Johnson intends to unveil his simplified three-tier local lockdown code next week.
In plans signed off at a ministerial “gold command” meeting last night, Tier 1 will see current social distancing measures, the “rule of six” and a pub curfew of 10pm enforced.
Areas in Tier 2 will have the same restrictions plus a ban on households mixing.
Vast swathes of the virus-hit North West and North East would automatically fall under Tier 3, in which pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses will be shut.
Sky News reported that the top tier may stop people from meeting other households in ANY setting – this may include offices and other public spaces like parks too.
The tiers have yet to be finalised, the Government has stressed today.
Pubs closed in parts of the North
As The Sun revealed last night, ten million Brits in the North East of England are set to be hit with tougher rules on Monday.
Boris Johnson is poised to order pubs and restaurants to shut in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
Nottingham is also braced for tougher measures.
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