The chancellor is expected to unveil new support for workers in parts of England under tier two restrictions.
Rishi Sunak will announce an update to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) - which is set to replace furlough in November - in the Commons on Thursday.
Critics say not enough is being done for companies in tier two areas that have seen demand collapse without being formally required to shut.
In tier three areas, workers at firms ordered to shut get emergency support.
Talks were held throughout Wednesday, with the government said to have acknowledged that while there are three tiers of pandemic shutdowns, there are only two tiers of support.
In tier three areas, the government will pay 67% of affected workers' wages, up to £2,100 a month from 1 November. Some workers can also claim Universal Credit.
But in tier two regions the only help available will be the standard JSS - which is meant to support "viable" jobs and requires a much larger contribution from employers.
Business groups and unions say this means many firms will not be able to use it and will have to lay off workers instead.
The gap in support particularly, though not exclusively, affects pubs and restaurants in tier two areas and has been described as the "worst of all worlds" by the hospitality industry.
Key Conservative figures, such as the West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, have also been critical of the disparities, along with a raft of Labour local leaders and MPs.
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