What help can businesses access to get through the coronavirus crisis?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a multibillion-pound package of measures to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis.

But what has he announced and how can businesses claim that support?

– What has the Chancellor announced?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged Government-backed loans worth £330 billion to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis.

He also announced a three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners if they are suffering difficulties due to the outbreak so they will not have to pay anything “while they get back on their feet”.

Cash grants of up to £25,000 to be available to smaller businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

Mr Sunak also announced a business rates holiday for all businesses in those sectors irrespective of their rateable value while the new business interruption loan scheme will provide loans of up to £5 million.

– How is this different to what was in the Budget?

At last week’s Budget, the Chancellor announced £30 billion of support to the economy to deal with the crisis by investing in public services, increasing support for vulnerable people and providing business with tax reliefs and loans.

In the Budget, he outlined a £12 billion set of measures targeted specifically at the impact of the virus – along with £18 billion of wider spending plans to stimulate the economy.

He also said he would increase the £3,000 cash grants to 700,000 of the country’s smallest businesses – announced in the Budget – to £10,000.

The new business interruption loan scheme announced at the Budget is being extended to small and medium-sized businesses, providing loans of up to £5 million with no interest due for the first six months, up from £1.2 million, he added.

– How can businesses access business interruption loans of up to £5 million?

On the delivery of the business loan scheme, Mr Sunak told MPs that they 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 will be able to “walk into their local branches” by early next week and request a business interruption loan that has been backed by the Government.

– How do homeowners claim their three-month mortgage holiday?

Mortgage broker SPF Private Clients said that homeowners should get in touch with their lenders as soon as possible and preferably before missing a mortgage payment.

It 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 their mortgage.

Tenants may be able to speak to their landlords who can speak to their own buy-to-let provider for their own payment holiday, it added.

– How can smaller business in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors claim cash grants of up to £25,000?

The Treasury has not said how business will be able to claim these grants yet.

But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said it was “key” to deliver these measures within the coming days with no hold-ups at banks, local authorities or central government.

– What happens next?

Mr Sunak told MPs that measures will be announced in the “coming days” to help protect renters.

When asked about the introduction of an employment package, the Chancellor said he was working urgently on proposals which will be brought before MPs in the next few days.