UK's Sunak to face parliament as lockdown pressure mounts

LONDON (Reuters) - 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

Reuters October 22, 2020 00:14:19 IST
UK's Sunak to face parliament as lockdown pressure mounts

UKs Sunak to face parliament as lockdown pressure mounts

LONDON (Reuters) - 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%.

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

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.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, writing by David Milliken and William James, editing by Paul Sandle and Stephen Addison)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.