Rishi Sunak unveils new wage regime as lockdown looms again

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Mr Sunak announced on Friday that hundreds of millions of pounds a month would be spent to pay workers at companies forced to shut down by new coronavirus restrictions.

The money is not limited to pubs, bars and restaurants, which is fueling fears that closures will be extended to other businesses in a return to a full-scale foreclosure.

The scheme will see taxpayers cover two-thirds of the salaries of staff in businesses that have to close for up to six months, and there is no limit on the cost.

As part of a significant extension of the employment support scheme, employees will no longer have to work part-time to be entitled to the wage subsidy. Businesses ordered to shut down before any further further restrictions will also qualify, throwing places such as nightclubs, which have been closed since March, a vital lifeline.

The Chancellor admitted he did not know how much the project would cost, although Treasury sources estimated it would be in the hundreds of millions of pounds per month.

“Obviously, we won’t know what the exact adoption of something like this is, because as we enter an uncertain time, the exact scope of any restrictions is uncertain at this time,” he said. he declares.

It came when Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, told MPs and peers on Friday that the UK was back to where it was in March as hospitals filled up. of patients with coronavirus.

Professor Van-Tam said the intensive care beds in the Northwest were “two to three times the size” far from capacity. Another government-backed study said hospital admissions in the region could double every week.

Professor Graham Medley, who sits on the Sage government’s science advisory committee on Friday, also warned that Britain is in a “situation similar to that of early March” and that “thousands of people will die if we don’t. nothing “.

The government said as of 9 a.m. on Friday there had been 13,864 more laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

This brings the total number of cases in the UK to 575,679. There are now 3,090 patients with Covid-19 in English hospitals. On March 23, the day the lockdown was imposed, there were 3,097.

According to plans to be presented by Mr Johnson on Monday, England will be divided into three different levels from the middle of next week depending on the severity of the local virus outbreaks.

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