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Government Refusing To Introduce UK-style Wage Subsidy To Save Jobs

Government refusing to introduce UK-style wage subsidy to save jobs

The government is refusing to introduce a UK-style wage subsidy to save jobs, despite pleas from business, unions and Labor.

The British government has committed to paying 80 percent of workers’ wages to save its economy and millions of jobs.

UK-style wage subsidy rejected in favour of other stimulus measures

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government will announce alternative stimulus measures in the coming days.

Labor, unions and business groups want the government to introduce a wage subsidy.

They want it based on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 80 percent wage subsidy aimed at keeping people employed.

But the Australian government has repeatedly rejected the idea.

Cormann told Sky News people financially impacted by COVID-19 need support “as quickly as possible”.

“No, we will not look at a UK-style system because in an Australian context that just wouldn’t work.

“If we came up with a completely different system, a completely different approach and had to start up a system from scratch it would take us way too long to get that into the community.”

Other countries introducing UK-style wage subsidies

But Labor’s industrial relations spokesperson Tony Burke says many other countries have managed to set up a wage subsidy.

They include:

  • Ireland;
  • Germany;
  • the Netherlands; and also
  • New Zealand.

Mr Burke told AAP:

“They’re all setting up wage subsidy schemes so people can keep their jobs instead of joining unemployment queues during this crisis.

“The Morrison government’s response? Nah, it’s all too hard. The Australian people deserve better.”

Labor criticises delay in financial support

Labor has criticised the length of time it is taking unemployment benefits to reach people under the government’s current stimulus package.

The coronavirus supplement worth $550 per fortnight will effectively double the Newstart unemployment allowance. 

The new payment is called the JobSeeker payment, however, it won’t reached unemployed workers until 27 April.


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