Coronavirus: Chancellor announces vast package of support for economy amid 'unimaginable' virus fallout for businesses

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The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £330bn package of Government-backed loans to help keep businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Sunak, who promised to go further if needed as the crisis deepens, promised further action on top of measures announced in last week's Budget, saying that "never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this one".

He said: “I said whatever it takes and I meant it.”

Mr Sunak announced cash grants, loans, and rates breaks for various businesses.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak gives a press conference on coronavirus. Photo: PAChancellor Rishi Sunak gives a press conference on coronavirus. Photo: PA
Chancellor Rishi Sunak gives a press conference on coronavirus. Photo: PA | pa

He said: "The Government will stand behind businesses small and large.

"I can announce today an unprecedented package of Government backed and guaranteed loans to support business to get through this.

"Today I am making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15 per cent of our GDP.

"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.

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"And if demand is greater than the initial £330bn I'm making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required."

He added: "That support will be delivered through two main schemes.

"To support liquidity amongst larger firms I have today agreed a new lending facility with the Governor of the Bank of England to provide low cost, easily accessible commercial paper.

"To support lending to small and medium sized businesses, I am extending the new business interruption loan scheme I announced at Budget last week so that rather than loans of £1.2m it will now provide loans of up to £5m with no interest due for the first six months.

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"Both of these schemes will be up and running by the start of next week."

Mr Sunak added that he is also taking "a new legal power" to "offer whatever further financial support I decide is necessary".

He also said the Government’s announcements were enough to allow those who had it to claim on their insurance, despite an Association of British Insurers spokesman saying yesterday that the guidance had not been enough as it fell short of a total shut down.

Mr Sunak 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.

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And he said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday.

He said: "This struggle will not be overcome by a single package of measures or isolated interventions.

"It will be won through a collective national effort, every one of us doing all we can to protect family, neighbours, friends, jobs.

"This national effort will be underpinned by Government interventions in the economy on a scale unimaginable only a few weeks ago."

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He said: "This is not a time for ideology and orthodoxy, this is a time to be bold, a time for courage.

"I want to reassure every British citizen this Government will give you all the tools you need to get through this."

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