Coronavirus: What time is the chancellor's statement today?

24 September 2020, 07:30 | Updated: 24 September 2020, 11:54

Rishi Sunak is set to address MPs in the Commons later today
Rishi Sunak is set to address MPs in the Commons later today. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to unveil a series of measures aimed at staving off mass job losses this winter.

Watch Chancellor Rishi Sunak's statement live here

Mr Sunak will outline his plans for protecting jobs on Thursday after opposition parties urged the government to do more to support employers and the economy following a surge of coronavirus cases.

The chancellor announced his 'Winter Economy Plan' via Twitter on Wednesday and he will address the Commons later today after cancelling this year's Budget.

With the furlough work scheme set to finish at the end of October, the chancellor will tell MPs how he plans to protect millions of jobs in sectors hit by the latest government guidance on Covid-19.

What time is the chancellor's statement today?

Rishi Sunak will issue a statement in the Commons at 11:45am on Thursday.

It comes after the UK recorded a further 6,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since May.

His speech also comes on the day new restrictions came into force in England and the long-delayed coronavirus contact tracing app was finally launched.

What will the chancellor say in his statement?

The chancellor is expected to outline his plan for protecting jobs in the wake of the government's new coronavirus restrictions for England.

He told his Twitter followers the scheme would be called the 'Winter Economy Plan' and it will reportedly include VAT cuts, loans for hard hit businesses and wage subsidies.

It could also see the government and companies share the cost of topping up wages for staff members only able to work part-time due to the pandemic, dubbed the "flexible furlough" scheme.

Another option being considered to replace the furlough scheme is Germany's Kurzarbeit, according to reports, or shorter work-time policy, under which firms can cut working hours in economic downturns with the state replacing part of their lost income.

Why is the chancellor issuing a statement?

Mr Sunak is announcing an emergency plan after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK could have to endure another six months of coronavirus restrictions.

It also comes after mounting pressure from business groups, MPs and unions to extend the furlough scheme amid fears the new measures will damage the economy.

No 11 said work on the scheme had been taking place in parallel with Budget preparations with a focus on jobs to avoid the expected three million unemployed.

The Treasury said: "We will always be honest with people about the difficult trade-offs that are involved here.

"Not between health and the economy, but between keeping people in jobs and helping them find new ones. And between help in the here and now and rebuilding in the future. That's what people deserve."

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