Rishi Sunak won't be able to save every job or business in his plan to protect the economy through the winter, Matt Hancock has warned.
The chancellor is set to reveal his plan to “to continue protecting jobs” through the coronavirus crisis after Boris Johnson warned the latest restrictions are likely to be in place for the next six months.
Mr Sunak is unveiling his "winter economy plan" five weeks before the government withdraws its job-support scheme at the end of October.
The health secretary said the government would "put in the absolute maximum economic support" but recognised it could not save every job or every business.
Video report by ITV Business Editor Joel Hills on Sunak's plan
"We've said throughout that sadly we're not able to protect every job and every business," he told Sky News.
The chancellor cancelled this year’s Budget and will instead prioritise protecting millions of jobs in sectors hit by the latest Government guidance on Covid-19.
He said: “As our response to coronavirus adapts, tomorrow afternoon I will update the House of Commons on our plans to continue protecting jobs through the winter.”
The Chancellor has been urged to “get around the table” and fast-track new job support plans amid reports he is working on a new German-style scheme to avoid mass unemployment once furlough ends.
The furlough scheme, which has paid the wages of millions forced out of work during the pandemic, is due to end next month despite Boris Johnson saying the latest restrictions are likely to be in place for six months.
ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston discusses how we will pay for the support
Mr Sunak is said to be weighing up a new scheme as part of a wider emergency support programme as pressure mounts on the Government to help businesses survive a second wave of coronavirus.
The mooted plans would reportedly see the Government and firms share the cost of topping up wages for employees only able to work part-time due to the pandemic.
Mr Sunak's announcement comes amid growing pressure for the government to replace the furlough scheme.
No further details were provided and it came as the Government confirmed more than 6,000 new coronavirus cases by 9am on Wednesday – the highest daily number since May 1.
A source close to the Treasury said: “No-one wanted to be in this situation but we need to respond to it.
“The Chancellor has shown he has been creative in the past and we hope that people will trust us to continue in that vein.
“Giving people reassurance and businesses the help they need to get through this is uppermost in his mind.”
The move followed comments by Prime Minister Boris Johnson about a “creative and imaginative” action plan to protect jobs, with unions and business leaders pointing to schemes used in other European countries.
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said on Tuesday it was time to “stop and rethink” the furlough scheme in favour of a targeted approach.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which outlined its furlough replacement proposal last month, said the Government must “fast-track a new plan” to protect jobs.
At PMQs, the prime minister said the government will introduce "further creative and imaginative schemes to keep our economy moving" after Sir Keir Starmer asked why financial support had not been offered to businesses affected by the latest restrictions.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has repeatedly insisted that the scheme cannot run forever and must eventually end.