LONDON: The British government will not deliver its planned budget later this year due to uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, a finance ministry source said Wednesday.
But Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is expected to set out new measures to protect jobs on Thursday, after a surge in cases sparked fresh nationwide restrictions.
“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,” he tweeted.
The source said the pandemic made long-term planning difficult, and the government wanted to focus on action now.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday set out new rules and guidance to stem the spread of infection, including early closing for pubs and restaurants — many of which are only just recovering after a full lockdown in the spring.
He also advised people to work from home if they can, abandoning a push to get office workers back into city centres to help the ailing economy.
“No-one wanted to be in this situation but we need to respond to it,” the source said. “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.”