The Government’s commitment to subsidise the salaries of workers at risk of redundancy by up to 80 per cent is a “huge measure that could save hundreds of thousands of jobs across Northern Ireland,” the Institute of Directors has said.

The leading business organisation’s National Director in Northern Ireland Kirsty McManus said:

“The Chancellor described the measure to support the salaries of workers by up to 80 per cent as ‘unprecedented’ but that is exactly what is called for in these unprecedented times.

“The commitment followed a united push by business organisations including the IoD as part of the Northern Ireland Business Alliance for the government to step up to the plate and help companies here to continue to pay wages.

“The Chancellor has clearly been listening to those calls.

“Combined with efforts to defer VAT payments and increase Universal Credit, this is major boost to confidence for business and consumers alike, the likes of which we have never seen before and probably never will do again.

“We look forward to seeing more of the detail around these measure in the days ahead and providing any assistance required to our members to ensure they can avail of what is available.

“As a business community and a people, we can get through this period, and emerge with an even greater resilience than even before.”