Furlough hope? Sunak to unveil plan to 'protect jobs through winter'

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Rishi Sunak

"As our response to coronavirus adapts, tomorrow afternoon I will update the House of Commons on our plans to continue protecting jobs through the winter", Sunak said in an unexpected statement on Wednesday.

The idea is one of several being considered by the chancellor and his Treasury, according to the Financial Times.

Boris Johnson on Tuesday reiterated that Sunak was weighing his options, hinting that the he might unveil a "successor to the furlough scheme" in the coming days.

As first reported by the Financial Times, the Chancellor is expected to unveil plans this week to extend the Government's four Coronavirus loan schemes in an effort to cushion the United Kingdom economy from a second wave of Coronavirus infections.

The Treasury said: "We will always be honest with people about the hard trade-offs that are involved here". And between help in the here and now and rebuilding in the future.

"No-one wanted to be in this situation but we need to respond to it".

The chancellor has taken the highly unexpected path of turning a blind eye to his November budget because "now is not the right time to outline long-term plans and people want to see us focused on the here and now", it has been suggested.

The most recent official figures show around 5 million people were still relying on the job support programme for some or all of their income at the end of July, concentrated in the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

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Sunak has previously said he would be "creative" in finding a way to support jobs, and foreign minister Dominic Raab told Sky News earlier in the day that the government was looking at a range of measures but would not extend the existing scheme.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) said the government must "fast track a new plan" in order to protect jobs.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson was repeatedly challenged about the looming prospect of support being withdrawn from firms and workers despite the prospect of the latest restrictions being in place for six months.

Furloughing has been the most expensive and cost around £40bn so far.

An announcement on new support measures had been expected from The Treasury the end of next week and before firms start to act on furlough schemes.

Ms Sturgeon said: "We mustn't be hamstrung in essential public health decisions by the lack of necessary economic mitigations".

So far, the United Kingdom government has laid out £57bn through a range of support measures for companies struggling to cope with the impact of coronavirus.

Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have now been 57,500 deaths registered in the United Kingdom where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

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