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Coronavirus UK: Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils £330bn business bailout

Boris Johnson launched a desperate bid to stop coronavirus effectively sending the UK bust tonight - with hundreds of billions pumped into bailing out businesses.

The PM and Chancellor Rishi Sunak said they were acting like a 'wartime government' and would do 'whatever it takes' to keep the economy going.

Mr Sunak said he was ready to give support on a scale that was 'unimaginable' only a few weeks ago. 'This is not a time for ideology or orthodoxy. This is a time to be bold,' he said.

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But despite a welcome from many industries, the ministers faced immediate warnings that they will have to do more, with the crisis threatening to grind UK plc to a halt.

Some £330billion of loans to businesses will be guaranteed by the government - equivalent to 15 per cent of GDP - including a Bank of England 'bridging' scheme for big companies in the firing line, and up to £5million each for smaller firms.

Mr Sunak said there would be a cash grant of £25,000 for each small and medium sized business, and every retail, hospitality and leisure sector firm would be exempt from rates for a year.

Planning rules will be waived for restaurants that want to switch to take-away services.

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Mr Sunak also said banks will give a three-month mortgage holiday to people who need help - pledging he will 'go much further' to support individuals' financial security in the coming days. He hinted that could involve the government picking up the tab for 'fixed costs' of staff wages, so firms do not have to lay people off.

He did not rule out direct interventions to slash taxes and bill for people struggling to get by, including the self-employed and 'gig' economy workers. However, he played down the US proposal for handing £1,000 cheques to every citizen.

'Today I am making available an initial £330billion of guarantees equivalent to 15 per cent of our GDP,' Mr Sunak said.

'That means that any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government backed loan or credit on attractive terms.

'And if demand is greater than the initial £330billion I am making available today I will go further and provide as much capacity as required. I said whatever it takes and I meant it.'

Appealing for businesses not to sack staff, he insisted 'support is on its way'. 'We will help them get through this. They don't need to rush these decisions,' he said.

'We want to help them get through this. It is better for them, better for the economy and better for everyone.'

The huge package was revealed after the US put forward its own $850billion plan to weather the storm ravaging the globe. offering to delay tax bills, bolster sick pay and supply emergency food. Every American could also be handed a $1,000 cheque to help keep the economy moving.

The lockdown announced by Mr Johnson last night has sparked panic among businesses and fears millions could be made unemployed, while the self-employed and those in the 'gig' economy could also struggle to work.

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Venue owners have vented fury at the PM for not formally ordering them to close, saying that means they cannot claim on insurance.

Giving evidence to MPs this morning, the government's own fiscal watchdog said ministers must now borrow huge sums to keep UK plc afloat.

They warned there could be a hit of over 5 per cent to the country's GDP, and 'wartime' level of response was needed.

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My view: Who exactly was this announcement of £330Bn coronavirus bailout for? Chancellor Rishi Sunak doesn’t care for the ordinary person. Sunak offers financial support for those who matter - rich people, nothing for renters, zero-hours workers, unemployed and freelancers, all spin headlines and good for optic.

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