Mortgage customers will be offered a three-month holiday from paying for their properties, while businesses in the hospitality industry will pay no business rates for 12 months, chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged.
"We have never in peacetime faced an economic fight like this one," Sunak said as he pledged £330bn of government-backed loan and guarantees in an additional coronavirus support package, following last week’s budget.
Under the plans, all pubs, restaurants and shops in the hospitality and retail industries will pay no business rates for 12 months.
Cash grants of up to £25,000 for small businesses will be made available to businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000.
Last week, Sunak used the budget to announce that a coronavirus loan scheme would be introduced to cover the cost of salaries and bills for small and medium sized businesses.
In the initial announcement, Sunak said the scheme would offer business interruption loans of up to £1.2m and will be delivered by the British Business Bank. Today, he confirmed the loans would be up to £5m.
The chancellor added that businesses have fixed costs, on rent and staff, and that the Treasury is making cash grants available to help them pay rent.
On support for employees, Sunak reiterated improvements announced in the budget to statutory sick pay, along with employment and support allowance.
He added that mortgage lenders will provide three-month mortgage holidays for those that need them.
"In the coming days I will go much further to support people’s financial security,” he said.
When asked how businesses affected by Covid-19 and government policy will repay any loans they take on, Sunak did not answer directly and only emphasised that what the government and Bank of England had demonstrated was co-ordinated monetary policy and fiscal policy.
He added: “Last week saw global leadership in coherent approach between monetary and fiscal policy. The two arms can work together to provide support. We have now made available a mix of loan schemes for businesses to get through liquidity issues. There is now direct fiscal policy to help business through this mix that includes tax releases, loans and cash grants.”