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Coronavirus: Chancellor extends business rates holiday to all

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the business rates holiday to all retailers, to help mitigate the growing economic impact of coronavirus. 

All retailers will be granted a 12-month business rates holiday, the chancellor has announced as part of his updated economic support for UK businesses. 

The government will also provide £330bn of government-backed loans and guarantees for UK businesses. 

Sunak said: ”Any business who needs access to cash to pay rent, salaries, suppliers or buy stock will be able to access a government-backed loan on attractive terms.”

This will be offered through two schemes. 

The first for larger firms is a new lending facility agreed with the governor of the Bank of England. The second for small and medium-sized businesses is a business interruption loan scheme extended to £5m with no interest due for the first six months. 

Sunak said he has added a new legal power to the Covid Bill to offer whatever further financial support he deems necessary in the future. 

Cash grants for the UK’s smallest businesses have been increased from £3000 to £10,000.

Yesterday, prime minister Boris Johnson told the UK to avoid all unnecessary public interaction including visiting retail destinations. 

Sunak has confirmed that for those with insurance policies that cover pandemics the government’s advice will allow them to make an insurance claim. 

For those without insurance, he promised an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business to help bridge them through this period. 

”The coronavirus is a public health emergency but it is also an economic emergency we have never in peacetime faced an economic fight like this one,” said Sunak. ”This struggling will not be overcome by a single package of measures but a collective national effort.”

Johnson added: ”We must act like any wartime government and do whatever it takes to support our economy. We must support millions of business and respond with a profound sense of urgency.”


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