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Government will do 'whatever it takes' to support business, Chancellor says

Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced a raft of measures to support businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

Giving a press conference alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sunak announced a £330bn package to relieve the economic impact of the outbreak.

After yesterday's advice from the government, that the public should socially distance themselves and avoid all pubs, bars, restaurants, the Chancellor announced a major package of support to keep small businesses afloat.

Sunak emphasised that the government and the treasury will do 'whatever it takes' to stop the pandemic destroying the British economy.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said an "unprecedented package" of government-backed loans worth £330 billion would be made available to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Business rates will be cut so 900,000 small businesses in England "will pay nothing at all in 2020/21", Mr Sunak confirmed during the second of the Government's daily briefings.

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.

He added: "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."

Mr Sunak described the outbreak as an "emergency", adding: "Never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this one."

Covid-19 is so dangerous that without drastic action it will "overwhelm the NHS", Boris Johnson added, as he warned that more "extreme measures" may be needed to protect lives in the future.

Measures designed to support businesses affected by the virus include:

  • Reimbursing small and medium-sized employers across the UK for up to two weeks’ statutory sick pay for each employee absent;Extending business rates cuts so that 900,000 small businesses in England will pay no rates at all in 2020/21.

  • Providing £2.2 billion funding for one-off grants of £3,000 to around 700,000 small businesses in England.

  • A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support businesses in all parts of the UK to access £1 billion of additional bank lending.

  • A dedicated HMRC helpline to enable UK businesses in financial distress to discuss deferring tax bills where necessary.

Coronavirus advice:

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