The Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised £330 billion pounds of support to help British businesses through the Coronavirus crisis. Rishi Sunak stated in the latest Downing Street press conference that “the country is in an economic emergency, and now is the time to be bold.”
The government has stated that the Coronavirus pandemic is not just a public health crisis, but also an economic emergency. Consequently, Mr Sunak announced a wide range of loans and guarantees that intend to safeguard the British economy from short-term ruin.
At an emergency press conference at Downing Street this evening, The Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the government’s chief medical advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance unveilled new fiscal and monetary policies that intend to lessen the blow of the Coronavirus epidemic on the British economy.
Rishi Sunak stated that the Coronavirus pandemic will have a significant impact on the British economy, but that the govrnment will try and migitate that. Mr Sunak subsequently promised government intervention in the economy, on a scale that was unimaginable a mere three weeks ago. Over the past few days, there has been outcry across social media about the “confusing” advice that the government was giving the British public. Many people were concerned about Johnson’s unwillingness to enforce a law against people continuing to frequent restaurants, bars and social venues because that would mean that none of these leisure businesses would be able to claim insurance. Today’s new measures intend to put an end to the financial distress that many business owners are experiencing amidst this global pandemic.
The following measures will be implemented in the near future:
Non-repayable and direct cash grants of up to £25,000 per retail and leisure businesses.
Seperate non-repayable and direct cash grants of up to £10,000 for the smallest businesses.
Lenders are to offer three-month mortgage breaks to all those struggling.
The business interuption loan scheme is to be extended.
Pubs, shops and other retail and leisure businesses will not have to pay business rates for twelve months.
Having insurance policies in place will allow businesses to make claims on government actions.
There was no mention yet of what will happen to businesses who pay rent.
In recent week many UK business owners had voiced their concerns over having to place staff on unpaid sabatical, with no certainty of what is going to happen over the next few months. Mr Sunak’s new pledges will no doubt reassure many of these individuals.
Mr Sunak, who stated this afternoon that “we have never in peacetime faced economic challenges like this” will address the commons this evening. Mr Sunak had already recieved widespread praise for his recent Keynesian budget, that will act as a fiscal stimulus.
Yesterday, Mr Johnson stated that there had been widespread agreement amongst G7 colleagues that everyone must work together collaboratively to prevent fiscal chaos.
Yesterday afternoon, the Prime Minister and his Chief Medical Advisors Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance announced that they were amping up their respose to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
In a bid to combat the rapid spread of Covid-19 in Britain, Boris Johnson told the British public of the government’s new measures live from Downing Street.
The government’s next stage of their Coronavirus plan includes the following measaures:
The public have been advised to avoid social mixing, mass gatherings and social venues. Including pubs, cinemas, bars and clubs, in an attempt to inhibit the unnessesary contact which could increase the transmission of the virus.
The NHS will be postponing urgent surgeries from the 15th April to free up 30,000 beds for the new demand in Coronavirus treatment.
The public have been now advised to work from home if possible.
The public have now been advised to avoid public transport when possible, with the possibility of future travel restrictions having been discussed.
The public have now been advised to buy food at the safe distance from others, and remain at a safe distance from others when in public spaces.
The public have now been advised to stop non-essential contact with people outside their household, socially distance and not pursue non-essential travel both nationwide and overseas.
The public have now been advised that if one person in a household suspects they have Covid-19, that the entire household should now self-isolate and stay at home for a period of 14 days. This is an increase on the previous advice; that anyone who suspects they have Covid-19 should stay at home for a period of 7 days. The government had previously stated that individuals who suspect they have Covid-19 should stay at home for only one week.
Pregnant women, people over 70 and individuals with existing health conditions have been told to consider that this advice is particularily important.
Mr Johnson continued that vulnerable and infirm individuals are as of now advised to drastically minimise their levels of social contact for up to a period of 12 weeks.
Mr Whitty stated that individuals with advanced forms of cancer, and the people that come in to contact with those individuals should consider this new advice and remain especially careful.
These new measures have been implemented, as the government aknowledges that there has been a recent fast upswing in terms of the number of people being infected with the virus and the pace of the spread of the virus. New data suggests that the United Kingdom is three weeks away from the exremely dire position that Italy is in.
Furthermore, Mr Whitty stated that the next few weeks will be extraordinarily difficult for NHS staff, and that the UK is now a big step away from where it was a mere four days ago.
The Prime Minister added that the government are keeping all measures under review, and that on balance it is better to keep schools open for the time being. However, this government attitude may change over the coming weeks as the epidemic develops exponentially.
Mr Vallance admitted that the biggest unknown worldwide is how many people had the virus and were asymptomatic.
The British government had recently been alerted to the fact that up to 250,000 people could die from the virus if their stance did not change, and they continued to adopt refrain from advising the public to socially distance and stay at home.
When asked if he will impose criminal sanctions when necessary that parallel the Draconian laws that have been adopted by Italy, France and Spain Mr Johnson replied that, “we are a mature and grown up liberal democracy where people clearly understand the advice being given to them. They know that they are helping the NHS, helping us as individuals and also the wider community.”
Mr Johnson concluded that he is now “asking alot of everybody, this is now far more than just washing your hands.”
However, concern remains for NHS staff because there has been no confirmation as of yet that they will recieve priority testing for Covid-19.
Many people have labelled the government’s new measures a ‘U-Turn’, however Mr Johnson had made it quite clear in his initial briefing on the Coronavirus crisis that he intended to eventually escalate their level of involvement in public life. Nevertheless, the government made it clear that they did not expect to reach this stage of the Coronavirus plan this soon.
As of today, 55 people in England have died from Covid-19, and a further 1,950 people have tested positive for it. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has stated that “we are in a war against a invisible killer.” Mr Hancock has implied that he would like to offer testing to everyone with a suspected case of Covid-19, but that the NHS simply does not yet have the capacity to do so. Therefore, Covid-19 testing must be rationed until more testing opportunities become available.
The UK are currently only testing a number of hospital patients, people who have recently travelled back from the geography were Coronavirus is rife, and people who know that they have had recent contact with an individual who is Covid-19 positive. The World Health organisation has criticised this approach, and has continuously asked world leaders to test vast numbers of their populations.
Many people have been quick to criticise the government’s new public health advice, arguing that it is not decisive enough and that rebellious individuals will still defy them. This of course may risk them of being infected, and then passing the agent to a vulnerable person who may not be able to recover from it easily or at all.
Two hours after Mr Johnson unveilled these new public health measures, President Macron held a similar conference in Paris detailing the French response to the Coronavirus and its implications on their municipal elections.
Mr Macron criticised people who carried on frequenting social venues, and that the people ignoring his official advice to socially distance are not protecing themselves and others. Mr Macron continued that “even if you have no symptoms, you are risking contaminating your friends, parents and grandparents, we are in a situation of war, a health war and this required general mobilisation, day and night there is nothing that should distract us.”
President Macron has, as of midday today, limited French citizens movements within France, and has closed the French border. However, French citizens will be allowed to return to France. In France, police now roam the streets where they make sure that the public are staying at home and are not congregating in the nations many cafes, parks and gardens. French citizens who intend to move freely within the country must present police with a document to show that their travel is essential. Any French citizens breaking these new orders will face a fine. We will have to wait and see if Mr Johnson adopts similar measures and places the UK in a state of total lockdown.
As anti-social becomes the new social, tonight we remain split apart in the hope that many lives will be saved in the long-term. As many senior politicians keep repeating, this battle will be won through a united national effort.
If you are concerned about Coronavirus or seek medical advice about Coronavirus, please refer to the NHS website.
Insanity Radio will continue to broadcast updates on the pandemic.
Image Credit: Sky News