Rishi Sunak has warned that "hardship lies ahead", but insisted that no-one will be left "without hope" as he announced an emergency package of measures to cope with the economic impact of coronavirus.

The Chancellor, in what amounts to a mini-budget, told MPs that the Government will do "all we can" to keep people in work, writes the Press Association and the Packet.

Addressing MPs, Mr Sunak said his "plan for jobs" would help protect livelihoods after the economy shrunk by 25 per cent in just two months.

He said: "We have taken decisive action to protect our economy.

"But people are anxious about losing their jobs, about unemployment rising. We're not just going to accept this.

"People need to know we will do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work.

"People need to know that although hardship lies ahead, no-one will be left without hope."

Measures announced by Mr Sunak include an 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme to help get people back into pubs and restaurants, to protect the 1.8 million people who work in the hospitality sector, with the discount valid throughout August between Monday and Wednesday.

The scheme offers 50 per cent off a bill for everyone, including children, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head.

The Chancellor said that to "catalyse" the housing market he was temporarily raising the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 until March 31, 2021.

He said the change - which will take effect immediately - will mean nearly nine out of ten people buying a main home this year will pay no stamp duty at all.

Mr Sunak also said VAT will be reduced from 20 per cent to 5 five percent from July 15 until January 12.

Other measures include:

- A £2 billion scheme of taxpayer-funded work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

- A £3 billion green package, with grants for home-owners and public buildings to improve energy efficiency.

- A £111 million programme of unpaid traineeships combining work experience with training.

The Chancellor's statement comes after warnings from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that the UK's unemployment rate could soar to 14.8 per cent, with job losses comparable to the 1930s.

Mr Sunak said there would be a new jobs retention bonus to incentivise employers to bring back staff from furlough.

Firms will receive a £1,000 bonus for each staff member they return and continuously employ through to January.

"If employers bring back all nine million people who have been on furlough, this would be a £9 billion policy to retain people in work," he said.

"Our message to business is clear: if you stand by your workers, we will stand by you."