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Covid-19: Employment Support - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:36 pm on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 12:36 pm, 19th March 2020

My Lords, I will now repeat in the form of a Statement the answer to an Urgent Question made in the House of Commons by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen. The Statement is as follows:

“Mr Speaker, 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. This included standing behind businesses small and large, with an unprecedented package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses to get 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 work.

The Government have made available an initial £330 billion of guarantees—equivalent to 15% of our GDP. That means that any business which 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 before the Treasury Select Committee yesterday afternoon, the Chancellor spoke to the trade unions and he will today be meeting the TUC, the CBI, the BCC and the FSB—I will not spell out those acronyms. 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 that these are unprecedented times. The Chancellor has said he will look at further steps to help protect jobs and incomes, and he will announce further details in due course.”

My Lords, that concludes the Statement.