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Government-backed loans worth £330 billion will be made available to support businesses through the coronavirus crisis, the Chancellor has announced.
Rishi Sunak said the “unprecedented package” – equivalent to 15% of GDP – could go further if demand is greater, and vowed to do “whatever it takes” to help the economy.
The Chancellor, speaking at a press conference inside 10 Downing Street, also said he was extending the business rates holiday to all businesses in the hospitality sector and funding grants of up to £25,000 for smaller businesses.
And Mr Sunak said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday.
Chancellor #RishiSunak has announced:
▪️Government backed and guaranteed loans for all businesses with £330b available
▪️A new lending facility available with loans of up to £5m available
▪️Potentail support package for airlines and airports 1/2 pic.twitter.com/YledRYDVli
— The Guide Liverpool (@TheGuideLpool) March 17, 2020
He unveiled the measures after the Government’s chief scientific adviser said around 55,000 people in the UK now have Covid-19, as the NHS moved to cancel all non-emergency surgery and 71 people are now known to have died.
Sir Patrick Vallance told MPs it is hoped the death toll can be kept to under 20,000 as he told of the huge amount of strain the health service will be under from Covid-19.
– £330 billion Government-backed loans
Mr Sunak unveiled an “unprecedented package” of Government-backed loans worth £330 billion – equivalent to 15% of GDP – to help businesses.
He said: “That means any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a Government-backed loan or credit on attractive terms.
“And if demand is greater than the initial £330 billion I’m making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required. I said whatever it takes, and I meant it.”
– Mortgage holidays
The Chancellor said homeowners would get a “three-month mortgage holiday” if they are suffering difficulties due to the outbreak.
He told the press conference: “For those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will now offer a three-month mortgage holiday so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage cost while they get back on their feet.”
– Cash grants
Mr Sunak said he was providing cash grants of up to £25,000 to smaller businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value less than £51,000 to help bridge through the period.
He also said he would increase the £3,000 cash grants to 700,000 of the country’s smallest businesses – announced in the Budget – to £10,000.
– Business rates holiday
The Chancellor said he was extending a business rates holiday for those smaller businesses to all businesses in those sectors irrespective of their rateable value.
It means shops, pubs, theatres, music venues and restaurants will pay no business rates for 12 months.
– People’s financial security
Mr Sunak said he would soon announce further measures to “support people’s financial security”.
“In particular, I will work with trade unions and business groups to urgently develop new forms of employment support to help protect people’s jobs and their incomes through this period,” he said.
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