Workers to get 67% of wages – bosses to get free labour under Sunak scheme

Tate galleries workers taking strike action last month to fight sackings

TORY CHANCELLOR Sunak set out yesterday more massive support for businesses forced to close by law, with much tighter virus rules expected in England next week.

Sunak outlined ‘the next stage of the Job Support Scheme’ to help firms that ‘may have to close in the coming weeks or months’.

He said that ‘This is an expansion of the job support scheme specifically for those people who are in businesses that will be formally or legally asked to close.’

Setting out support for businesses forced to close by law, as tighter lockdown laws are expected to be announced in England next week he revealed that workers are to get only 67% of their pay if firms are told to shut.

The second wave of the coronavirus is well underway and more closures of restaurants, pubs and bars are expected around the country.

Employees who work for UK firms forced to shut by law because of coronavirus restrictions will get two-thirds of their wages paid for by the government. The employer will not have to pay any wages at all.

They are to get free labour! Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said Sunak’s ‘delay in delivering support has caused unnecessary anxiety and job losses’.

The support will be reviewed in January.

The grants will be paid up to a maximum of £2,100 per employee a month and the Treasury said they will protect jobs and enable businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted.

The TUC yesterday repeated its call for the government to make all working people eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP), and to raise it to the equivalent of the real Living Wage (£320 pw). ‘This would avoid people required to self-isolate being plunged into poverty,’ it said.

Meanwhile, new restrictions were introduced for Scotland’s pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes and came into effect from 6pm yesterday evening.

Across most of the country these venues will only be allowed to operate indoors between 6am and 6pm and not serve alcohol.

However, they can continue to sell drinks until 10pm in outside areas, leader of the Scottish Nationalists Nicola Sturgeon announced.

Furthermore, pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas across the central belt of Scotland will be forced to close for 16 days as of Friday evening.

An update on restrictions, which could see pubs and restaurants shut in the worst-affected areas, is due on Monday.

Nearly three million workers – or 12% of the UK’s workforce – are currently on partial or full furlough leave, according to official figures.

There were 17,540 new cases of coronavirus recorded in the UK on Thursday, up from the 14,162 reported the day before, government data showed. A further 77 people died after testing positive for the virus within 28 days.

NHS England data published on Thursday showed the number of people waiting more than a year to start hospital treatment is at its highest level since 2008 – with some 111,026 people waiting more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment in August.

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