UK Government announces £350bn for economy, but it won't reach everyone

  • The UK Government has announced a £350bn package of support for businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, but it won't reach everyone.

    Businesses across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK have been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with some moving positions to remote work and many closing their doors and sending staff home. As the scale of the disaster becomes clear, some companies have already begun mass-layoffs and temporary suspensions.

    It's estimated that interventions aimed at slowing the spread of infection to keep the number of cases under the NHS' capacity could still lead to countless deaths in the UK. A shorter-term but more intense lockdown policy would produce the best health outcomes, but will be heavily damaging to our economy.

    The UK Government announced a £350bn stimulus plan this week for businesses affected by the outbreak. The plan includes £330bn in loans offered on good terms to businesses which have to cover supplies, rent, and salaries. A rates holiday is to be put in place to provide businesses most affected (such as those in the hospitality sector) additional relief, and a grant scheme is starting for small businesses in those sectors.

    There's been a great deal of confusion from UK companies on exactly what support is available to them and how to access it. Local councils have reportedly not been given any information about it, and support such as the rates holiday for pubs and other companies in the hospitality sector do not apply to Northern Ireland -- as a result, the hotel and pub industry has already seen hundreds of layoffs and redundancies.

    The rates holiday won't help many companies that don't pay rates, and the grant scheme to support small businesses so far only applies to the hospitality sector. Small companies disrupted by coronavirus restrictions also haven't been told how to access the £330bn of loans being made available through the Bank of England Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

    UPDATE: The NI Executive has announced that a three month rates holiday will apply to all businesses in Northern Ireland.

    Source: BBC News, BBC News

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