Chancellor to launch local furlough support
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce further measures to help businesses forced to close as a result of local lockdowns.
It is widely expected that restaurants and bars in the north of England will be forced to shut next week in a tightening of coronavirus restrictions.
According to reports in The Times the government plans to cover two-thirds of the wages of employees at hospitality businesses that are required to close.
The move will be an improvement on the wage support scheme announced last month, but is not as generous as the original furlough scheme, which covered 80% of workers' wages.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls today called on the government to match the original 80% furlough package in locked down areas and for 66% furlough support in areas operating within trade restrictions.
She said: "We absolutely support the government's tiered approach to protect public health. Our sector has invested heavily to ensure that our venues are the most monitored and covid-secure of public spaces.
"The inarguable fact is that all of the restrictions currently in place or under consideration, make it impossible for most venues to operate anywhere near profitably.
"To save jobs and businesses, government support for hospitality must be at the same levels of the furlough scheme where there are forced closures, and two thirds of wages where curfews and other restrictions are seeing trade hit hard.
"Alongside a new package of grants, this would help to preserve a sector that has the economic might to help drive Britain's economic recovery, as this morning's GDP figures demonstrate. It would be reckless to make momentous decisions on our future without protecting the positive investment of the furlough scheme, which has done so much to sustain so many jobs thus far."
Photo: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street