What time is Rishi Sunak's furlough update and job plan announcement today?
AS the furlough scheme comes to an end, many Brits will be anxious to know what's next to protect jobs still impacted by the pandemic.
Later today (September 24) Chancellor Rishi Sunak will reveal a form of replacement for the furlough scheme. Here's all you need to know about when it will be and what will be said.
What time is Rishi Sunak's furlough update and job plan announcement?
The Chancellor will address the Commons at approximately 12.30pm today (Thursday, September 24).
How to watch the announcement live
You can catch press briefings live on The Sun's YouTube channel, as well as most news channels and the BBC.
What is the Chancellor expected to say?
Mr Sunak will update MPs on plans "to continue protecting jobs" under a new “flexible furlough” scheme targeted at industries that will be hardest hit by the new Covid restrictions.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government will replace furlough with "creative and imaginative schemes".
"As our response to coronavirus adapts … I will update the House of Commons on our plans to continue protecting jobs through the winter," Mr Sunak tweeted.
With the furlough scheme due to finish at the end of October, the Chancellor is set to announce new measures aimed at protecting millions of jobs in sectors hit hardest by new coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Sunak has made reference to a new 'Winter Economy Plan' via Twitter after increasing pressure from business groups, MPs and unions to extend the furlough scheme amid fears the new restrictions will damage the economy.
As the number of new cases rose by 6,178 – the highest 24-hour total since May – new restrictions came into force in England with particular effect on hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses.
Work on the scheme is said to have 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."
The Chancellor initially announced his move via Twitter, with a graphic titled "Winter Economy Plan".
His initiative will include VAT cuts, loans for hard hit businesses and wage subsidies, according to reports.
It could see the Government and firms share the cost of topping up wages for employees only able to work part-time due to the pandemic.
Mr Sunak's emergency plan comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country could have to cope with up to another six months of coronavirus restrictions.
One option reportedly being considered to replace the furlough scheme is Germany's Kurzarbeit, or shorter work-time policy, under which firms can cut working hours in economic downturns with the state replacing part of their lost income.
Another proposal put forward by the CBI business group would see subsidies for firms that can offer staff at least 50 per cent of their normal hours, with the cost for non-working hours shared equally by the company, the Treasury and the employee.
The furlough scheme has cost the Government £39.3 billion to date, with £3.9 billion between August 16 and September 20 alone, according to the latest figures released.
The scheme was paying up to 80 per cent of people's wages – up to £2,500 a month – to help businesses cope with the crisis and to keep the economy afloat.
But hundreds of thousands of jobs have still been lost as a result of the pandemic and around three million people across the UK are still on furlough and haven't been able to go back to work.
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