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The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced a range of financial support to businesses to help them through the COVID-19 outbreak.  The measures are designed to help businesses access funds to keep going and keep staff employed.

More information needed

In response, Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said “The litmus test will be based on whether these measures will get cash to businesses on the front line, fast.

“For these interventions to have the desired impact, we need as a matter of urgency, information on the practical details from this announcement, such as eligibility and accessibility. With so many businesses now experiencing wholesale disruption these measures could present a lifeline for many.

“Businesses will certainly welcome the scale of the Government’s latest response, as well as the specific support it is offering to some of the worst-affected parts of our economy such as tourism & leisure.

“It was heartening to hear that the Government would do whatever it takes over the coming days to support businesses, their employees, and the economy. Of course this is just the start, we expect further measures will be needed to help all firms and their employees meet this unprecedented challenge.”

What was announced?

Although further detail is needed the measures announced were:

• A package of £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 of up to £25,000 for those businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000
• A three-month mortgage holiday for those in difficulty because of coronavirus
• Cash grants of £10,000 to 700,000 of the smallest businesses

The Chamber will be keeping members informed throughout this difficult time.  If you have any questions please get in touch on 01772 653000 or info@lancschamber.co.uk.

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