Measures have been unveiled to help people and businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic – but how can you access them?

 

What has the chancellor offered to businesses?

  • £330bn of loan guarantees to businesses, with more to be made available if needed
  • Interest-free business interruption loans will be increased to £5m, up from £1.2m announced at last week’s budget. No interest will be due for the first six months
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all shops, pubs, theatres, music venues, restaurants and any other hospitality or leisure business
  • A cash grant up to £25,000 for businesses with a rateable value less than £51,000
  • Cash grants of £10,000 to 700,000 of the smallest businesses
  • Local authorities will be fully compensated for the cost of these measures, with at least £3.5bn going to devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • A potential support package for airlines and airports in the face of worldwide travel bans

The budget already devoted money to fighting coronavirus. How is this different?

During the budget last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced £30bn of support to deal with the coronavirus crisis: £12bn to target the impact and £18bn of spending to stimulate the economy. This included investing in public services, increasing support for vulnerable people and giving businesses tax reliefs and loans.

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He had announced £3,000 cash grants to 700,000 of the country’s smallest businesses. This has been increased to £10,000.

The business interruption loan scheme announced in the budget is being extended to small and medium-sized businesses. This means loans of up to £5m with no interest due for the first six months – up from £1.2m.

The business interruption loan sounds like what my business needs. How can I get it?

Mr Sunak told MPs that these would be delivered not by the British business bank but by individual retail banks on high streets.

He told the House of Commons that businesses would be able to walk into their local branches by early next week and request a business interruption loan backed by the government.

If I run a smaller business in retail, hospitality or leisure, how do I claim the cash grant of up to £25,000?

The Treasury has not yet confirmed this. Stay tuned.

But the Federation of Small Businesses has said this must happen in the coming days, without any delays at banks, local authorities or central government.

What help is there for homeowners and tenants?

Mr Sunak announced on Tuesday that there would be a three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners struggling to make repayments due to the effects of coronavirus.

There is nothing for renters so far but landlords who benefit from the assistance have been encouraged to be understanding towards tenants who struggle to pay rent because of the virus.

In the Commons on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to protect renters from eviction if they were affected by the virus.

Mr Johnson said further measures would also be introduced to protect the vulnerable and those who face job losses.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pressed Mr Johnson on his plans for renters and Mr Johnson said: I can indeed confirm that we will be bringing forward legislation to protect private renters from eviction, that is one thing we will do, but it is also important as we legislate that we do not simply pass on the problem, so we’ll also be taking steps to protect other actors in the economy.

If I have a mortgage and I’m struggling what do I do?

The advice is the same given to anyone struggling with mortgage repayments, regardless of the reason: contact your lender.

Do this as soon as possible and preferably before missing a payment.

Mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said that, while lenders may ask for evidence that you are unwell, they are usually sympathetic to illnesses that affect a borrower’s ability to pay.

If you’re a tenant, speak to your landlord (again, preferably before missing a payment).

What next for renters?

Speaking to Kay [email protected], Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: There are millions of renters across the country and some of them will be facing this anxiety.

The chancellor was very clear yesterday that the housing secretary will be coming forward very shortly to set out a statement on how we will make sure there is protection for renters as well.

Mr Sunak has said measures to help renters will be announced in the coming days and that an employment package is being urgently worked on.

Why might we need this help?

Pubs, hotels, theatres, airlines, restaurants and other travel and hospitality firms are most likely to be affected by coronavirus disruption.

But even if your business does not come under these categories, you are likely to be affected.

One in every five workers could be off sick with what is thought to be the virus at any one time, according to estimates, and recovery could take weeks for some.

This means companies having to get by with fewer staff.

People with a new and continuous cough and high temperature have been told to stay home for seven days. Everyone who lives with someone who gets ill must also stay home for 14 days.

But without testing everyone, it is impossible to know how many will be off work despite having an illness that isn’t coronavirus – so the number of absent employees could be even higher than one in five.

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(c) Sky News 2020: Coronavirus: Have a mortgage? Own a business? Here’s how to get government help