The UK is preparing a stimulus package to tackle the jump in unemployment due to the coronavirus, with expectations that the jobless rate could soon rise to more than 10%, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified government officials.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is working with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on the plan , which is expected to be announced before the summer, the newspaper said. The job creation program will focus on infrastructure and green energy projects. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is preparing measures to retrain workers as part of the plan, the paper said.
Sunak announced that workers furloughed because of the pandemic will continue to receive 80% of wages through October, though companies will be called on to assume more of that support. Firms will start taking the burden of their National Insurance and pension contributions in August, before paying 10% of workers’ wages in September, and 20% the following month, the Chancellor announced.
The Chancellor also responded to business calls by making the program more flexible to allow furloughed employees to work part-time from July — a month earlier than previously planned.