In a bid to provide support to the economy, the United Kingdom Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, on March 20, unveiled an ‘unprecedented’ wage boost. As per reports, Sunak announced that the UK government will be paying 80 per cent of wages for employees who are not working. The new measure is the ‘first time in the history’ that UK government will step in and pay people’s wages.
Earlier this week, Sunak had pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save people’s jobs and livelihood and while addressing the Downing Street briefing Sunak said that the government ‘meant it’. Under the new scheme, 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. Sunak described the new plan as the most ‘comprehensive’ in the world.
While briefing about the new plane, he further said that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme will also be interest-free for the next 12 months, with loans available from March 23. Furthermore, in order to provide ‘further cashflow support’, Sunak said that the government will be deferring the next quarter of VAT payments as well. He further urged businesses to stand behind the workers and remember the many ‘small acts of kindness’ done by the government.
In a bid to support businesses survive the unprecedented times, earlier this week, the British government had also unveiled $400 billion packages. While speaking to an international media outlet, Sunak said that the measures were equivalent to 15 per cent of GDP. He further added that the package is available to any business that needs access to cash.
Meanwhile, the British government reportedly also warned that the virus is spreading faster than the authorities had predicted. While speaking to an international media outlet, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that UK capital is a ‘few weeks ahead’ of the rest of the country and the way the virus is spreading faster than the government and advisers had thought. Khan believes that the advice given by the government to stop all ‘non-essential social contact’ is the right advice. He reportedly said that the authorities have to take sensible steps to avoid the virus from spreading faster.