LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s government will pay businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak not to lay off workers, as part of what finance minister Rishi Sunak said would be an unprecedented economic intervention.
“Today I can announce that for the first time in our history the government is going to step in and pay people’s wages,” Sunak said at a news conference, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the closure of pubs and eat-in restaurants.
Sunak said the government would give grants to cover 80% of a worker’s salary if businesses kept them on staff.
“The economic intervention that I am announcing today is unprecedented in the history of the British state,” he said.
(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison)