Coronavirus: Boris Johnson 'We must act like any wartime government' ? @BBC News - BBC MyT

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Jekxan
Jekxan
24 Mar 2020

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The government has unveiled a package of financial measures to shore up the economy against the coronavirus impact.

These include £330bn for companies to access loans, support for airlines, a business rates holiday, and help for small firms without insurance.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told a press conference it was an "economic emergency. Never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this one."

And he promised that if this package was not enough, he would go further.

From the hospitality industry to the airline sector, companies have warned that their long term survival is under threat.

Mr Sunak said: "Some sectors are facing particularly acute challenges. In the coming days, my colleague the Secretary of State for Transport and I will discuss a potential support package specifically for airlines and airports."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during the same media briefing that "we must do whatever it takes to support the economy". He added: "This a time to be bold, to have courage. We will support jobs, we will support incomes, we will support businesses... We will do whatever it takes."

The chancellor said he was extending the business rates holiday to all firms in the hospitality sector and funding grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for small businesses. And Mr Sunak said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday.
'No time for ideology'

He unveiled the measures after the government's chief scientific adviser said about 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.

Mr Sunak 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." The £330bn package was, he said, equivalent to 15% of UK 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.

"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. I said whatever it takes, and I meant it."

He said the aid package was to help companies "meet the fixed costs of their staff without having to let them go".

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