UK's Rishi Sunak to address parliament as lockdown pressure mounts

Topics Rishi Sunak | Coronavirus | Lockdown

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak arrives at Downing Street
British finance minister Rishi Sunak will address parliament on Thursday about the outlook for the economy, as he faces growing pressure to offer more support to businesses and workers hit by tightening Covid lockdown rules.

Britain's main furlough programme ends this month, despite a resurgence in coronavirus cases that has led to a wave of restrictions that have fallen especially heavily on the hospitality industry.

Without extra support, unemployment is forecast to rise by more than 1 million before the end of the year.

From next month, only businesses that are legally required to close completely to the public will be able to furlough employees. Those employees will receive two-thirds of their wages, rather than a previous 80 per cent.

Others employing staff part-time will receive much more limited support for their wage bills.

Sunak is expected to unveil additional measures to help struggling firms with one possibility being to extend the eligibility for business grants, The Guardian reported on Wednesday. The Financial Times said there would be more support for the hospitality sector.

The government has clashed with regional politicians in northwest England over the scale of aid available to businesses and workers.

Many lockdown measures in Britain do not require businesses to close outright but significantly restrict trade, for example by barring pubs and restaurants from serving groups of people who do not live in the same household, or opening after 10 p.m.

Britain's finance ministry was not immediately able to comment on the nature of the upcoming 'Economy Update' which the government announced on Wednesday.

Previous updates have come alongside the announcement of more generous support.

Facing demands for more assistance from lawmakers on Tuesday, junior finance minister Jesse Norman said the government had put in place "an evolving and comprehensive programme of support for business".

British government borrowing is on course to reach its highest since World War Two this financial year.

Sunak said earlier on Wednesday that supporting jobs remained the government's priority, but he would need to take steps to ensure the public finances remained sustainable once economic recovery was under way.



Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel