(Bloomberg) — U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s latest salvo against the economic chaos of the coronavirus marks a shift in tactics that risks making a painful spike in unemployment inevitable.
Gone is the furlough program that may have saved millions of jobs in the early days of the pandemic yet which proved too expensive to last. In its place is a plan to subsidize wages for the next six months.
Rishi Sunak speaks during a virtual news conference in London on Sept. 24.
Photographer: WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe
The new support is only about a quarter of that available earlier in the year. To get it, employees must work a third of their normal hours, but companies will have to top up their wages — a bar that will be too high for many that are struggling.