Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a major wage bailout scheme to cover the salaries of British workers hit by the UK coronavirus crisis.
Under the scheme, the government will pay up to 80% of workers' wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
Any British business, no matter what size, can apply for a wage bailout if it is struggling as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
In a speech, Mr Sunak said: 'Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages for people who are not working but kept on payroll rather than being laid off.
'That means workers in any part of the UK can retain their job even if their employer cannot afford to retain them.'
Mr Sunak said there was no limit on the bailout fund, and the government will back date the wage bailout to 1 March and keep it open for at least three months.
The Chancellor also said all VAT payments have been deferred between 20 March and 20 June, while income tax payments for the self-employed have also been deferred for six months. However, the Chancellor is now under pressure to give more support to self-employed workers, who are not covered by the bailout.
These are challenging times for businesses. We expect more government announcements on the details of the wage bailout and further help for the self-employed to be made in the coming days. We will add more details to our website as they become available.