Reports suggest govt considering ‘massive’ package of support

The government is considering a “massive” package of measures to help the economy through the next phase of the coronavirus crisis, according to reports.

Boris Johnson suggested that Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has been working on “creative and imaginative measures” to avoid a surge in unemployment when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends at the end of October.

The announcement during Prime Minister’s Questions came after the Financial Times had earlier revealed that Sunak is drawing up plans for a new programme to subsidise workers’ wages.

Reports have also indicated that the Treasury is looking at schemes in France, Germany and Spain that have helped companies unable to bring back employees on a full-time basis because of coronavirus.

Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said the threat to employment was “not theoretical” and cited the TUC, the CBI, the Federation of Small Business, the British Chamber of Commerce as well as the Governor of the Bank of England who have all called on the government not to withdraw furlough.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, has suggested the fovernment must “come forward” with a new jobs protection plan.

“It’s clear that this pandemic will not be over by Christmas – so neither should state support for jobs,” O’Grady commented. “The PM says he will put his arms around the workforce. Let’s see him prove it.

“Warm words will not pay the bills or save livelihoods. The government must come forward with a new jobs protection and training deal that support short-time working to stop the disaster of mass unemployment. Ministers cannot watch from the side lines as good jobs go to the wall.” 

Sunak has confirmed he will provide an update to the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon.

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