UK govt to pay wages of virus-hit workers

LONDON (AFP) – The British government on Friday said it would help cover the wages of people hit by the coronavirus outbreak as it tightened restrictions to curb the spread of the disease.

In an extraordinary intervention, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said he would pay 80 per cent of salaries of staff who could no longer work because of the virus fallout.

“Today I can announce that, for the first time in our history, the government is going to step in and help to pay people’s wages,” he said. He also announced a deferral in sales tax payments – worth USD34.8 billion – extended an existing business loan scheme and boosted welfare payments.