CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak has launched a six month job support scheme to replace the government's coronavirus furlough scheme. 

It will see firms pay workers for a third of their time in the office, and the government and employer jointly subsidising the other two thirds.

Announcing the measures in an emergency statement in the Commons, Sunak said the resurgence of the virus posed a threat to the UK's "fragile economic recovery."

He told MPs: "In economic terms while our output remains well below where it was in February, we have seen three consecutive months of growth, and millions of people have moved off the furlough and back to work.

"But the resurgence of the virus and the measures we need to take in response pose a threat to this fragile economic recovery. 

"So, our task now is to move to the next stage of our economic plan, nurturing the recovery, by protecting jobs through the difficult winter months."

Sunak said the new jobs support scheme would "support viable jobs".

Employees will need to work at least a third of their normal hours, and be paid for that work as normal, by their employer.

For the remaining hours not worked the government and the employer will pay one third each. 

It should mean employees working 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their wages.

Support will be aimed at firms who need it the most, Sunak said.

While small and medium sized businesses are eligible, larger companies would only be able to ask for help if turnover has fallen because of the crisis.

The scheme will be open to employers across the United Kingdom, even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme.

It's set to run for six months, starting in November.

Sunak also announced an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme extension, covering 20% of average monthly trading profits via a government grant.

Businesses who have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme are to be given more time to repay.

The Treasury has also extended the 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.

The Chancellor also deferred VAT bills, to allow businesses to spread out their VAT bill over eleven smaller payments. 

SNP Treasury spokesman Alison Thewliss said the SNP were "glad that the Chancellor has accepted the need to extend support".

But, she added, "He is coming very late in the day to do this, and it is little comfort to those who have already lost their jobs due to the impending ending of the furlough scheme."