Newspaper headlines: Wage bailout as ‘Britain shuts down’

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Newspaper headlines: Wage bailout as ‘Britain shuts down’


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The government’s decision to order the shutdown of bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses while announcing it will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic dominates the front pages. The Times reports that millions of workers who face being laid off as a result of coronavirus will have 80% of their wages paid for at least three months. The paper says the move is the government’s latest attempt to prevent the UK economy from “collapsing” as increasingly stringent measures to tackle the virus are applied.

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The Daily Telegraph quotes Chancellor Rishi Sunak as saying the country has reached a “generation-defining moment”, as he vowed the government would pick up the bill for anyone “furloughed” by the crisis. The paper says the move is vital to protect jobs in light of the prime minister’s announcement of a shutdown of businesses – aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

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The Financial Times says the package of measures to stop coronavirus devastating the UK economy is “unprecedented”. The Treasury, it notes, has declined to say how much the intervention will cost.

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The move represents a “lifeline” to the UK, says the Daily Express. It adds that Mr Sunak was effectively signing a “blank cheque” with his wage-support pledge.

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The Guardian describes the decision to force businesses to close as “extraordinary”, adding the wage-support scheme is aimed at averting a “tsunami” of job losses. Mr Johnson had come under increasing pressure for more stringent measures, the paper notes, after social distancing recommendations announced on Monday were being routinely flouted.

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The Daily Mail says it is the “biggest shutdown in our history”, adding that it will apply for at least two weeks but will probably extend to months.

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The i picks up on the announcement that the self-employed will be able to claim universal credit benefit – though Labour has called for more help to be offered.

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“You stay in, we pay out” is the front-page headline on the Daily Mirror. The paper quotes Mr Johnson as saying they were acting “in a way government never has before”.

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“Sling yer hook!” is the front-page headline on the Daily Star. It pictures revellers smoking and drinking together, in spite of the government this week urging people to avoid unnecessary social contact.

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And finally, the Sun has this take on the situation: “After that, we all need a drink.”

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