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Small Businesses: Government Assistance

Treasury written question – answered on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to protect the (a) homes and (b) other assets of business owners that may be repossessed as a result of their businesses failing due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The UK is well prepared to tackle COVID-19 and support businesses through this difficult period. The Chancellor has announced a £350bn package to support businesses access finance and tackle short-term cash-flow problems that arise as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and is working closely with the banking industry to monitor developments.

The Government also welcomes the statement by UK Finance on behalf of the sector which announced that banks, building societies and credit card providers are committed to supporting their business customers in continuing to trade, and would encourage businesses to speak to their lender if they need finance.

Banks and building societies are ready and able to support consumers impacted by COVID-19. On the 17 March, the Chancellor announced on behalf of the sector that banks and building societies will offer a 3-month ‘mortgage holiday’ for borrowers who are financially struggling. This will enable affected borrowers to more easily defer their mortgage payments for up to 3 months. Customers who are concerned about their current financial situation should get in touch with their lender at the earliest possible opportunity.

On 18 March the Government confirmed that the mortgage payment holiday of up to 3 months will also be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing difficulty due to coronavirus.

On 20 March, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published guidance for all regulated mortgage lenders to follow on the mortgage payment holiday and announced that lenders should stop repossession activity during this period.

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