Rishi Sunakhas announced the government’s new plan to protect jobs as the UK suffers a second surge in COVID-19 cases.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday (24 September), The Chancellor informed his fellow MPs about a winter economy plan – designed to keep the country afloat whilst preventing mass unemployment.
The new package, created to help Britain through a “permanent adjustment”, will replace furlough and top up wages for employees.
According to Sunak, the Job Support Scheme will directly support the wages of people in work, giving businesses the option of keeping employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.
Rules state that employees must work at least a third of their usual hours and be paid for that work by their employer.
The government will increase those people’s wages covering two-thirds of pay they’ve lost by reducing their working hours. The employee will keep their job.
All small and medium-sized businesses are eligible, and the scheme will run for six months, starting in November.
Sunak stated: “I know people are anxious and afraid and exhausted… I share those feelings but there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic.
“We now know more about this virus. We have seen three consecutive months of growth [in the economy], and millions of people have moved off the furlough and back to work.
“Our task now is to move to the next stage of the economic plan; nurturing recovery and protecting jobs through the difficult winter months.”
The UK found itself riding the crest of a second wave of cases just as the government’s furlough scheme was set to end on October 31.
Sunak’s first job protection package – launched during the onset of the pandemic – had allowed businesses to claim back 80% of their employees’ wages during a period when the country plunged into a recession.
Millions of workers in the UK are still currently supported via furlough, and there had been great concern about the scheme’s impending conclusion.
Originally created to cover wages until the summer, the programme was extended by a further four months in May as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc on businesses.
Sunak had previously expressed reluctance to keep the programme running beyond autumn, but confirmed earlier this week that the government had plans to “continue protecting jobs“.
This week also saw the confirmed scrapping of the Autumn Budget – where the Chancellor ordinarily reveals the condition of, and plans for, the national economy.
Major spending decisions are now being placed on hold until 2021.
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.