Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to announce an employment and wage subsidy package to try to protect millions of jobs.
Talks went on into the night with business groups and union leaders, who urged the government to help pay wages amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Many firms are warning of collapse, wiping out thousands of jobs, as life in the UK is largely put on hold.
News of more help for companies pushed stock markets higher, with the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 up 5% at one point.
The pound rose 3.3% from a 35-year low to $1.18.
The chancellor’s wage package, due to be unveiled later today (Friday), is the latest in a string of big fiscal attempts to ease the burden on businesses and their employees.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged struggling businesses to “stick by their employees, because we’re all going to need them”.