Coronavirus: UK will pay 80% of lost wages for those laid off due to COVID-19 outbreak

'For the first time in our history, the government is going to step in and help pay people's wages,' Rishi Sunak announces

The UK government will pay up to 80% of wages for workers who are at risk of being laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the chancellor has announced.

The United States is not doing anything like this, or discussing anything like this.

Why isn't the purportedly richest and most powerful and most awesomest country in the world, ours, doing the same — or something close — for the millions of suddenly jobless workers? Oh yeah, a corporate tax cut instead. And a single thousand-dollar check, or something. Thanks, GOP Senate.

From the UK Independent:

Any employer in the country will be able to apply to HMRC for payments of up to £2,500 per worker per month – just above the median UK income – Rishi Sunak said on Friday. The unprecedented move means the government will guarantee a proportion of the salaries of millions of workers, if employers keep them on their payrolls rather than laying them off.

The scheme will be open for three months initially but will be extended if required, the chancellor said, before laying out a raft of additional measures designed to support businesses and jobs. Grants will be available for "as many jobs as necessary" he said before also announcing £1bn of support for renters, tax relief for the self-employed and increases in universal credit payments.

It came as pubs, bars, restaurants and leisure centres shut down in the latest intensification of social distancing measures designed to slow the spread of Covid-19. Those restrictions, while necessary to protect public health, will be disastrous for many businesses and jobs as economic activity slows down drastically.

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Coronavirus: UK government to pay 80% of wages for those not working during crisis