The British government will provide cash bonuses and other incentives to employers that re-hire workers who were laid off as a result of COVID-19, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak told Parliament on Wednesday (July 8).
The government also will spend the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars to fund new positions and internships at businesses as part of an effort to increase work opportunities for young people, Sunak said during an economic update to the legislative body, according to a U.K. Treasury news release.
“Throughout this crisis I have never been the prisoner of ideology. For me, this has never just been a question of economics, but of values,” Sunak said. “We believe in the nobility of work. We believe in the inspiring power of opportunity. We believe in the British people’s fortitude and endurance.”
He added: “Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”
Sunak’s plan also has measures targeting help for specific sectors of the economy that were hurt especially badly by COVID-19.
For the restaurant industry, the government is slashing taxes and funding vouchers to make dining out more affordable on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
To jumpstart housing, the government is reducing and eliminating taxes on transactions.
The British government previously implemented a £160 billion package that included a £49 billion bump in funding for operations including the country’s National Health Service and packages of grants and loans for businesses.
In the U.S., the idea of paying people to return to work was floated in late May by Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council. Kudlow said many economists and policy-makers agreed that the $600 the government is adding to weekly unemployment checks was incentivizing some people to stay home by making it more profitable than working.