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Coronavirus: Employment Support

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 10:30 am, 19th March 2020

This is an uncertain time for our country, but the Government are clear that they will do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses from the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out further steps in the Government’s economic response, building on the initial response he outlined in the Budget last week, which included standing behind businesses, small and large, with an unprecedented package of Government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses through this crisis. I have been working very closely with him and the banks, and they are very clear about their responsibility to make these measures work. The Government have made available an initial £330 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15% of our GDP. That means that any business that needs cash to pay salaries will be able to access a Government-backed loan on attractive terms. The Government will do whatever it takes to support our economy through this crisis and stand ready to provide further support where necessary. As the Chancellor announced, we will go much further to support people’s financial security working with trade unions and business groups. Following his appearance at the Treasury Select Committee yesterday afternoon, the Chancellor spoke to the trade unions, and he will today be meeting the TUC, the CBI, the British Chambers of Commerce, and the Federation of Small Businesses. This will be with a view to urgently developing new forms of employment support to help protect people’s jobs and incomes through this period. I am sure that you will appreciate, Mr Speaker, that these are unprecedented times. The Chancellor has said that he will look at further steps to help protect jobs and incomes, and he will announce further details in due course.