Topical Questions

Part of Treasury – in the House of Commons on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak The Chancellor of the Exchequer

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the importance of cash flow, which is why we have targeted our interventions specifically at smaller businesses by providing extra cash flow support. We have done so through the £10,000 grant to every business in receipt of small business rate or rural rate relief and, indeed, through the deferral of VAT, which starts from today for the quarter. As my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said earlier, that represents more than £35 billion, or 1.5% of GDP-worth of tax deferral, providing immediate cash-flow support. We have done the same thing for self-assessment payments that are due in the coming months and have also, as of yesterday, launched a business interruption loan scheme, which my hon. Friend has done fantastic work developing. It will provide 12-month interest-free loans to small businesses, again, to help provide them with the liquidity that they need to get through this.