The British government headed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made an unprecedented announcement to take care of people’s monthly wages. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the government will pay 80% of wages for employees not working, up to £2,500 a month. Sunak said, “Today I can announce that for the first time in our history the government is going to step in and pay people’s wages.”
Sunak’s announcement coincided with another step taken by Johnson, asking pubs and restaurants to observe lockdown starting tonight. In his address to the nation, Johnson said that UK’s nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres had been asked to close ‘as soon as they reasonably can.’
According to the BBC, Johnson said that the measures would be enforced ‘strictly’ and that licensing arrangements will make doing so ‘relatively simple.’
177 people have, so far, lost their lives in the UK due to the coronavirus outbreak. There have been calls for the British government to emulate US plans to hand American citizens direct cash payments worth more than $1,000 as part of a stimulus package worth more than $1tn.
The government has already announced a £350 bn bailout package to help businesses cope with the economic slowdown.
Sunak said on Friday, “Let me speak directly to businesses: I know it’s incredibly difficult out there – we in government are doing everything we can to support you.” He added, “To all those at home, right now anxious about the days ahead, I say you will not face this alone.”
The Bank Of England has already reduced the interest rate to an all-time low of 0.1%.