London, March 23 : UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce a multi-billion pound rescue package to protect Britain's five million self-employed workers after he promised to cover 80 per cent of laid-off workers' incomes amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported on Monday.
The Indian-origin Chancellor Sunak was preparing the fresh coronavirus economic bailout amid warnings thousands of sole traders will not survive the crisis, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.
He had announced on March 20 that the government would cover 80 per cent of employers' wage bills in a bid to stop mass lay-offs.
But following criticism that the self-employed were not receiving a similar level of support, the Treasury spent the weekend drawing up the new package.
Amid mounting pressure, more than 2,000 musicians on Sunday wrote to the Chancellor warning that the outbreak, which has killed 281 people and infected nearly 6,000 others, has resulted in the "complete shutdown of our places of work".
The British Chamber of Commerce on Saturday night warned that sole traders across the country were seeing their livelihoods "vanish in the blink of an eye".
In addition to the workers' bailout, the airline industry, on the brink of disaster due to grounded flights, may benefit from a separate deal.