The Prime Minister has sanctioned an unprecedented scheme to protect millions of pay as you earn and self-employed workers worth tens of billions of pounds. And with the European Commission also preparing for a huge surge in unemployment, Ursula von der Leyen has unveiled her own rescue package. The bloc’s most senior official is hoping to borrow £88.5billion to help cover lost earnings to allow companies who have lost business because of the global pandemic to drastically reduce their workers’ hours.
In a daily social media address, the European Commission president said the continent was suffering from the “greatest human tdradigies since the wars” in a vow to help people get back on their feet.
She added: “Millions of people cannot go to work but they still have to buy groceries and pay the bill. Companies are paying salaries to their employments even if right now they are not making money.
“Europe is now coming to their support with a new initiative, it is called SURE.”
Brussels is hoping to keep “millions of people in their jobs” by by covering their lost earnings and also teaching them new skills in the coming months.
But it has emerged Britain will not be able to cash in on the proposal despite still paying into the EU budget as part of the post-Brexit transition scheme.
An early proposal, which is due to be signed off by the EU Commission’s top bureaucrats tomorrow, makes clear the UK will not be included in the programme as a member state.
It states: “This Regulation shall not be applicable to and in the United Kingdom.
“References to Member States in this Regulation shall not be understood as including the United Kingdom.”
The UK currently sends around £1 billion a month to help top up the EU’s budget while the country remains in the bloc’s single market and customs union.
Under the terms of Mr Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, the UK is only liable for its share of projects decided upon before January 31, 2020.
This means future contingent liabilities racked up by European capitals are no longer expected to be shared with UK taxpayers.
But in turn this means Britain is barred from the Commission’s new unemployment scheme because member states are expected to shoulder the burden of the debts accrued by Brussels.
However, It emerged that the programme has been discussed at meetings in January where British officials had been present.
Mr Gove said: “There was some communication confusion.
“I don’t know all the details of that, but I do know having talked to senior figures in the NHS that there’s nothing that participating in that scheme would have allowed us to do that we have not been able to do ourselves.”
Published at Wed, 01 Apr 2020 19:55:00 +0000