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Rishi Sunak has announced the government will pay employers a £1,000 bonus for every person they bring back from furlough.
The furlough programme has seen the state pay the wages for nine million jobs
The chancellor confirmed on Wednesday the scheme, introduced as the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, would be wound down “flexibly and gradually” until October.
But delivering a new set of economic measures today, Sunak revealed a new “jobs retention bonus”.
“If you’re an employer and you bring back someone who was furloughed - and continuously employ them through to January - we’ll pay you a £1,000 bonus per employee,” he said.
For businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January.
Sunak said: “We’ll pay the bonus for all furloughed employees. So if employers bring back all nine million people who have been on furlough, this would be a £9 billion policy to retain people in work.
“Our message to business is clear: if you stand by your workers, we will stand by you.”
Unveiling his mini-Budget, Sunak warned that “hardship lies ahead”, but insisted that no-one will be left “without hope”.
He told MPs that the government will do “all we can” to keep people in work.
Sunak said his “plan for jobs” would help protect livelihoods after the economy contracted by 25% in just two months.
He also announced an “eat out to help out” discount offering 50% off, up to £10 per head, on meals out on certain days of the week during August.
Other measures included a £2 billion scheme of taxpayer-funded work placements for 16-to-24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
He also revealed £3 billion green package, with grants for homeowners and public buildings to improve energy efficiency.
And there will be a £111 million programme of unpaid traineeships combining work experience with training.