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Coronavirus: chancellor announces £330bn of support for businesses

PUBLISHED: 17:38 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:34 17 March 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaking at a media briefing in Downing Street, London, where he announced a £330bn package to help businesses during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaking at a media briefing in Downing Street, London, where he announced a £330bn package to help businesses during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

The government has announced a £330bn support package to help businesses to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to extend the business rates holiday to all businesses in the hospitality sector, while also promising grants of up to £25,000 for smaller businesses.

Speaking at a press conference, the chancellor said the Government would “be bold” in its support for the economy.

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.”

Mr Sunak said that the government would “stand behind businesses small and large”, before announcing an “unprecedented” £330bn package of government-backed loans to support firms.

He said: “Today I am making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15% 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.

Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance stand with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a coronavirus briefing in Downing Street. Picture: Richard Pohle/The Times /PA WireChief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty (left) and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance stand with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a coronavirus briefing in Downing Street. Picture: Richard Pohle/The Times /PA Wire

“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.”

The chancellor also said that mortgage lenders would offer a three-month mortgage holiday for those in financial difficulty due to the coronavirus.

Mr Sunak 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 £1.2 million it will now provide loans of up to £5 million with no interest due for the first six months.

“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”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson echoed the chancellor’s words, and said the Government will do “whatever it takes” to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak.

He said: “We must act like a wartime government and do whatever it takes to support our economy.

“We support millions of businesses and tens of millions families and individuals through coming months.

“The Government must and will act with a profound sense of urgency.”

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