The UK government launched a £ 30 billion (US $ 37 billion, 33 billion) package on Wednesday to save jobs and help young people at work boost the coronavirus-driven economy.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak made a mini budget available to parliament. His measures included bonuses for companies that retain employees and hire apprentices, investments in “green” jobs, and the ability for the whole country to enjoy discounted meals in restaurants.
"People need to know that, despite the need ahead, nobody will be left without hope," Chancellor Sunak said.
Sunak noted that "people are afraid of losing their jobs, unemployment is increasing," and said to the country:
"We won't just accept that."
Other measures included temporarily lowering VAT on groceries, accommodations and attractions – and raising the threshold above which stamp duty is due on home purchases to help the construction sector.
Britain suffered the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, and a nationwide shutdown resulted in the worst economic contraction among the leading G7 industrialized countries.
Sunak said the UK economy shrank 25 percent due to the corona virus blockage – "in the same amount it has grown in the past 18 years."
The Chancellor also confirmed 3 billion green investments after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to "build, build, build" out of the economic crisis.
The investment package includes £ 2 billion in grants for households to isolate houses and make them more energy efficient, and another £ 1 billion for public sector buildings, including hospitals.
The plan is also part of the UK's long-term pledge to cut CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 to help tackle climate change.
The UK imposed a nationwide ban on March 23 to stop the spread of COVID-19, but has gradually started to loosen restrictions to stimulate troubled companies.
Recent official data showed that the UK saw the largest quarterly decline in more than 40 years between January and March – at minus 2.2 percent.
However, the data included only the first full week of closure, and economists expect subsequent damage to worsen significantly in the second quarter.
Another contraction would put Britain in a technical recession.
Since the onset of the crisis, the Bank of England has given the virus-infested UK economy £ 300bn of money and lowered its prime rate to a record low of 0.1 percent – measures to support businesses and save jobs.
Experts estimate that the total costs of state emergency measures could now amount to up to 300 billion euros.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)