The Chancellor of the Exchequer is set to announce that the job retention scheme, which sees those workers furloughed by their employer receive 80% of their wages from the government, will be replaced by “free bicycles” The Rochdale Herald has learned.

Rishi Sunak MP, who said a few weeks ago that he would do “whatever it takes for as long as it takes” is expected to double down on the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday that those in the manufacturing and construction industries, amongst others, should return to work but not use public transport. He is expected to do this by means of slashing the furlough payment from 80% to 60%.

To counter this, it has been reported that he will be adhering to the time honoured Tory principle of “I’m alright Jack” and may be offering those plunged into abject poverty a free bicycle.

“This serves several purposes,” a source to The Rochdale Herald.

“Firstly, it let’s us combat any complaints about anything by anyone with the retort ‘on yer bike’ which is, quite frankly, hilarious and secondly it saves us an obscene amount of cash which could be better spent bailing out the banks again.”

Mr Sunak’s office declined to respond to our request for clarification.