This afternoon the Chancellor and Prime Minister made it clear that the Government will stand behind every business that is affected by Coronavirus. These are unprecedented measures: For the first time in our history, the British Government is going to step in and help pay people’s wages. Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers not working, up to a total of £2,500 a month, that’s above UK median earnings level.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest-free for twelve months rather than six months. Those loans will now be available on Monday.
To help businesses keep people in work, the Government is deferring the next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now to mid-June. You’ll have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills. That’s an injection of over £30bn to businesses, equivalent to 1.5% of GDP.
We are increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year, and the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount. These measures will benefit over 4 million households.
Over the coming days we will be pulling together, and putting in one place, the total support that this Government is providing to ensure that we can get through this challenging period.
Many of you will have questions about the details of these schemes, and we will endeavour to get answers to you ASAP. In the meantime, rest assured that we will do everything we can to stand behind every business and worker in our country.