Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil an emergency Covid-19 rescue plan that aims to protect jobs.
Following warnings from MPs and unions, the chancellor has ruled out the autumn budget and will instead launch a ‘Winter Economy Plan’, Sky News reports.
To help the economy cope with the latest restrictions, including 10pm curfews on pubs and restaurants and office staff told to work from home, the scheme will be centred around a multi-billion-pound package.
Modelled on a similar scheme in Germany, the scheme will subsidise wages of workers who are returning to work part-time after being furloughed.
It is also expected that the VAT cut to 5% will be extended until the end of March rather than January.
Those hard-hit businesses are also likely to see the extension of four loan schemes until the end of November, which include terms increased from six to 10 years to reduce monthly repayments.
Mr Sunak spoke of the unusual step to not announce a 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’.
A source told Sky News: “No-one wanted to be in this situation but we need to respond to it. The chancellor has shown he has been creative in the past and we hope that people will trust us to continue in that vein.
“Giving people reassurance and businesses the help they need to get through this is uppermost in his mind.”
They added: “It is not about health versus the economy, but about the balance between keeping people in jobs and finding them new ones, and that ‘what remains true is that our priority is one word: jobs’.”
The Treasury explained that the chancellor is promising a ‘flexible and adaptable approach to economic support, because people have needed the help and they’ve needed it quickly and at the right time’.
Adding that he will be ‘very honest with people’ about the trade-offs the government faces as it deals with rising infection rates and an economic slump.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds told Sky News that Labour has been: “saying for a very long time that it’s critical we have a targeted system of wage support in place”.
Dodds added: “I’ve called for that 40 times and 20 times the government has said they’re not willing to put that into place.
“Obviously, if the government has shifted, I’m pleased. It’s come very late, however. We’ve already seen a number of redundancies because of the one-size-fits-all withdrawal of the furlough scheme.”
The Prime Minister told MPs: “What we will do is continue to put our arms around the people of this country going through a very tough time and come up with the appropriate creative and imaginative schemes to keep them in work and keep the economy moving.”
Labour MP Grahame Morris demanded an expansion of the Covid Job Retention Scheme, saying: “Make no mistake: a tsunami of job losses is in the pipeline within 38 days.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer warned of a ‘wave of job losses in the winter’ because ‘it makes no sense to bring in new restrictions at the same time as phasing out support for jobs and businesses’.
The shop workers union also warned of ‘a tsunami of job losses’.
General secretary Paddy Lillis added: “If we are going to save the high street, there needs to be radical and bold action to level the playing field between online retail and ‘bricks and mortar’ shops.
“The time is long overdue for the government to look seriously at introducing some form of online sales tax.
“As a society we have a choice, do we want to see the high street go to the wall or do we want to save it.
“Retail is the cornerstone of our towns, cities and communities. It employs around three million people and needs urgent assistance to get the industry back on its feet.”
Woolworths possibly returning to British highstreet next year
Please be true.
A Twitter account called ‘UKWoolworths’ claims the much-loved chain will be making a comeback to the high street next year.
The account posted on Twitter to explain that three new trial stores will be opened late next year. They wrote: “Here to save 2020! Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store!
“A couple of legal things to get sorted, but we’re full steam ahead at Woolworths HQ.
“We want to get this right, so we need your help. What do you want at your UK #YourWoolworths?”
They went onto explain that they want fans to tell them exactly what they want from their local Woolies to make sure they get the reopening right.
They added: “Throughout this week, we’ll have announcements and chances to win gift cards for Woolworths and gift cards for other retailers on your high street. Welcome back to Woolworths!”
In response, one person wrote: “Apart from pick ‘n’ mix and the top 40 singles, cheap but good quality homeware like saucepans and picture frames and doormats and pillows. And sewing thread and needles. And shoe polish. And seeds and compost and plant pots. Everything Just what it was before, that’s all.”
Another said “I want pick n mix and lots of gift items”.
Another person added: “It’s got to be kid friendly. Easy access, wide aisles and full of stuff kids love. Comics, books, stationary, pic ‘n’ mix etc. Don’t try and stock a little bit of everything… Decide your market and stick to just that.”
However, not everyone is convinced the news is really true. One person wrote ‘obviously a hoax’ and another said the news is a ‘twisted and cruel PRANK’.
Another wrote ‘it’s a scam’ and a third added ‘it’s fake news’.
Do you hope the news is true or not?!
Scooters are now available in Salford for public use
Let’s hope this goes better than the Mobikes…
Salford City Council and the University of Salford are said to be thrilled to be trialling the new project.
The Department for Transport has opened the doors for cities, including Salford, to trial new schemes for renting e-scooters.
Previously banned in the UK, the introduction of e-scooters is to discourage workers from using their cars in cities.
Lime, the company behind the e-scooter trial, is a US-based company that currently already operates in London, Milton Keynes, Europe and of course the USA.
With great success in other cities, we can’t wait to see the scooters take off in Salford.
Costing £1 to unlock then an additional 15p per minute whilst you’re out and about. Each scooter is also fitted with an alarm which will activate if someone tried to move it without unlocking.
It’s important you remember to obey traffic laws, to ride safely in the bike lane or street and to wear a helmet.
Will you be trialing the new scooters? Let us know!
Manchester United set to deliver 5,000 free meals for local kids over half-term
Manchester United have announced they will be delivering 5,000 free meals to children over half-term.
Food provided by charity FareShare will be processed and packaged into individual meals at Old Trafford by United staff this week.
It will then be shipped out to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools.
The six schools involved include Waterhead Academy, Dean Trust Rose Bridge, The East Manchester Academy, Manchester Enterprise Academy, Manchester Academy, Stretford High School. Other charities will also receive some of the meals as part of the scheme.
It comes as United Striker, Marcus Rashford, campaigned to extend free meal provision until Easter 2021. MP’s voted against the action last week but are now facing a lot of pressure to reverse their decision.
A statement from the club reads: “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more families are dealing with food poverty,”
“The impact of the virus has exacerbated an existing problem and, with unemployment rising and the economic crisis biting hard, many are struggling with reduced income.
“As a result, many families and children simply do not have enough food and are going hungry. This initiative does not solve the issue locally, but will make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of families across Greater Manchester.”
John Shiels, the chief executive of the Manchester United Foundation, added: “We’re incredibly proud and humbled to be working with FareShare over October half-term.
“This initiative will go a long way to ensuring that pupils from our partner schools and families using local food-banks have fresh meals to eat, during what we know is a difficult time for many.
“We’ve seen first-hand how children from socially challenged backgrounds can be even more vulnerable when they’re not in school, it’s therefore imperative to be present in their lives throughout the school holidays, showing that we care and the Foundation is always here to support.”