Coronavirus: UK gov’t to pay 80% of wages after closing pubs, restaurants

UK to subsidize 80% of wages after pubs restaurants closure amid coronavirus outbreak
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The UK government said it will subsidize 80% of the wages of workers affected by the closure of pubs and restaurants amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Following an order to close down pubs and restaurants to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the UK government said it will subsidize 80% of the wages of any worker facing unemployment.

According to Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, the government will cover 80% of worker salaries for at least the next three months up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, which is more than the average income.

Sunak said the subsidy, which was part of a bigger rescue package for British businesses, would apply to all companies, large or small. Other measures included in the package were tax relief totaling £30 billion and interest-free loans for up to 12 months.

Prior to the closures, the UK government has been receiving criticism for not taking the outbreak seriously and and relying on citizens to simply practice social distancing.

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However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced stricter measures to enforce social distancing, including the enforced closures of pubs, restaurants, theaters, cinemas and gyms.

Johnson said that while these establishments would be closed to the public starting Saturday, they could still continue to offer food to go.

Sunak claimed that the government has never had a program on this scale to pay wages and had to build its system “from scratch,” emphasizing that there is an available “unlimited funding”.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “It marks the start of the UK’s economic fightback — an unparalleled joint effort by enterprise and government to help our country emerge from this crisis with the minimum possible damage.”

Meanwhile, Mike Hawes, CEO of the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, pointed out that the measures will come as a “huge relief” to car companies, their workers and families.

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