The government will pay wages for private sector employees - Chancellor

The government will pay 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month for any employee not working as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the unprecedented financial support in the daily Covid-19 press briefing.

The Chancellor's pledge came moments after the Prime Minister announced that all bars, pubs and restaurants, as well as many other businesses have been ordered to close from tonight.

Sunak said the money for private sector employees will come from the newly set-up Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Sunak said: "Today I can announce that in the first time of our history, the government is going to step in and help pay people's wages.

"We're setting up a new coronavirus job retention scheme. Any employer in the country small or large, charitable or non-profit, will be eligible for the scheme.

"Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month - that's just above the median income."