People who fall below the lower limit do not qualify for the Job Retention Bonus, but the bonus is too small to make it worth keeping workers earning above the upper bound.

Clare McNeil, associate director of the IPPR, said: “It is absolutely right for the Government to bring health and economic measures in line with each other – recognising that businesses forced to close due to lockdown measures need compensation to do so and to protect jobs and incomes.

“But a far larger number of people are being abandoned by the Government due to the flawed design of the Job Support Scheme.”

Instead, researchers say the one-time Job Retention Bonus should be paid monthly in proportion to wages for hours worked part-time, up to £2,500. They also argue it should be targeted only at firms that qualify for the Job Support Scheme, subsidising part-time work.

The IPPR calculates that this would cost £7.4bn, less than the total budgeted for the Job Retention Bonus – £7.5bn.

Separate data from Springboard, the retail researcher, showed 0.3pc fewer shoppers visited UK retailers last week than the week before, with the biggest declines seen at retail parks and shopping centres, and a slight improvement on high streets. Compared to last year, footfall was down 30.9pc.

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