Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to announce an employment and wage subsidy package to try to protect millions of jobs.
Talks went on into the night with business groups and union leaders, who urged the government to help pay wages amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Many firms are warning of collapse, wiping out thousands of jobs, as life in the UK is largely put on hold.
The chancellor’s wage package, due to be unveiled later on Friday, is the latest in a string of big fiscal attempts to ease the burden on businesses and their employees.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged struggling businesses to “stick by their employees, because we’re all going to need them”.
One proposal under discussion is for the UK to follow the lead of countries such as Denmark, where the government has promised to cover 75% of salaries at private companies for three months, if they promise not to let staff go.
Businesses will be “watching carefully to see what government support comes in” today, says Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry.
“Many other countries have now done this – France, Germany, Spain, Italy have put employee wage support in place and if that comes through quickly I believe there are businesses who will take a different decision because they want to keep their people and they want their businesses to be viable for when we recover,” she told the BBC.
Source BBC 20th March 2020