The U.K. government has announced that almost $400 billion in relief aid will be provided to businesses financially impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a press conference held on Tuesday, the United Kingdom’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the government’s stimulus package will be available to the hospitality and entertainment industries who have been hardest hit by COVID-19-related losses. Sunak stated that the government would “stand behind businesses small and large” by promising “any businesses that needs access to cash…will be able to access a government-backed loan.”
In the press conference, Sunak stated that small businesses would be able to request up to £25,000 from the government in order to stay afloat during this crisis. The finance minister also assured entrepreneurs that businesses with policies that cover pandemics will be able to make claims, which specifically references pubs, clubs, venues, and other entertainment arenas.
“That means any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or to purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan or credit on attractive terms,” Sunak said.
The finance minister stated that these loans would be accessible to businesses in need by next week, March 23rd. Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to request loans ranging from £1.2 million all the way to £5 million, with no interest due for six months. This is also in addition to a business rates holiday for small businesses without insurance to allow them extra time to pay back loans and make mortgage payments.
“This is not a time for ideology and orthodoxy, this is a time to be bold, a time for courage,” Sunak said. “I want to reassure every British citizen this government will give you all the tools you need to get through this.”
Sunak added that if the $398 billion (£330 billion) in loans would not enough, that the government would provide more, “I said whatever it takes, and I meant it.”