Government pledges extra help for families and businesses

At an emergency press conference today, Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined plans to shore up the economy including money available to the pub and bar sectors, and additional funds to help families struggling with finances as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

At the conference Johnson promised help for families and businesses but he warned more “extreme measures” may be needed to protect lives. 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said he plans to further increase the £1 billion he pledged at the Budget last week to support vulnerable people through the welfare system, and hardship funds for local councils. 

Sunak said: “Many businesses are frankly struggling right now. They haven’t done anything wrong (but) are watching their finances fall off a cliff.

“We will help them get through this. They don’t need to rush these decisions. We want to help them get through this. It is better for them, better for the economy and better for everyone.”

Sunak noted the concerns about the impact on pubs and clubs.

He said: “For those venues which do have a policy that covers pandemics – the government action is sufficient to allow them to make claims.”

He notes that for smaller businesses in the sector who don’t have insurance he will provide cash grants of £25,000 per business to “help bridge through this period”.

Businesses will also get an extension to the business rates holiday announced in the Budget. 

In addition, there are £10,000 cash grants for smaller firms. 

He has now announced that on top of this, mortgage lenders will provide three-month mortgage-holidays for those that need them.

He said: “In the coming days I will go much further to support people’s financial security”

Johnson said: “We must act like a war-time government”

He said: “Yes this enemy can be deadly but it is also beatable. And we know how to beat it and we know if as a country we follow the scientific advice, we will beat it.

“However tough the months ahead are, we have the resources and the resolve to win the fight.”

Johnson also said he was "absolutely confident" the UK's supply chains are working "and we will get farm to fork supplies". He said people have no reason to panic buy or stock pile. 

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