Chancellor to unveil rescue package for businesses hit by COVID-19

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a “significant” economic rescue package to help businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rishi Sunak will take the government’s daily COVID-19 news conference in Downing Street later and will use the televised address to announce the new measures.

It comes less than a week after he unveiled a £12bn package to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic in the budget.

The package of measures from the chancellor will include assistance for pubs, clubs and theatres.

Addressing the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Britons to avoid such premises.

But business owners have criticised the PM for not telling them to close – since if he did, they would have more chance of claiming on their insurance to save their businesses.

Industry figures have warned that many businesses could go under without financial help from the government.

Meanwhile, the Association of British Insurers has said the vast majority of businesses will not have purchased cover that “will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their business being closed”.

The trade body for the industry added: “Standard business interruption cover – the type the majority of businesses purchase – does not include forced closure by authorities as it is intended to respond to physical damage at the property which results in the business being unable to continue to trade.”

Fears have been expressed for the self-employed, low-paid workers and those on zero-hours contracts, who are not entitled to statutory sick pay.

The government has already acted on sick pay – making workers eligible for it from the first day they are off sick and the refunding of sick pay for small businesses.

But there have been calls to go further.

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