UK business leaders have expressed “relief” after the government committed to pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Confederation of British Industry said firms were “overwhelmed with relief” by the “landmark” pledge.
It came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson also ordered cafes, pubs and restaurants to close from Friday night.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who announced the support package at the daily coronavirus briefing with the PM, said closing pubs and restaurants would have a “significant impact” on businesses.
But he added the government intervention – covering wages of up to £2,500 a month – would mean workers should be able to keep their jobs, even if their employer could not afford to pay them.
It is understood the wage subsidy will apply to firms where bosses have already had to lay off workers due to the pandemic, as long as they are brought back into the workforce and instead granted a leave of absence.
The government had been under growing pressure to intervene to support workers to prevent mass unemployment as a result of measures directed against the outbreak.
Source: BBC News