THE CHANCELLOR is preparing a fresh coronavirus cash bailout for struggling businesses desperate to avoid a huge economic hit.
Rishi Sunak will today unveil a bumper package of measures to help British companies cope with the crisis.
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He will hold a press conference in Downing Street tonight just one day on from the Prime Minister warning the nation to avoid pubs, theatres, restaurants and all social gatherings.
In his first budget Mr Sunak had already revealed a £12 billion fund to help Britain battle the virus, and today will unveil measures to help the economy as the number of infected continues to grow.
Yesterday the PM promised a fresh look “across our whole tax and spend system” to ensure “we give business space in which they come back from this”.
Mr Johnson also insisted the new financial crisis would be temporary and not on the same scale as the disastrous Credit Crunch of 2008.
Boris argued: “If we get it right, work together, we can make sure it’s short term.
“There is absolutely no reason worldwide economies can’t come roaring back”.
Mr Sunak will later announce the major bail out package designed to keep thousands of businesses afloat.
Treasury sources last night said it will be “very significant”, and the Chancellor will be at the PM’s side at his new daily press conference.
It comes as the Chairman of the Office for Budget responsibility warned businesses will go under because of the virus.
Robert Chote said: “Inevitably some businesses are not going to survive this, not everyone is it going to be possible to protect, so you would expect some adjustments coming out of that.
“There inevitably will be corporate casualties as a result of this process.”
He added: “This is not a time to be squeamish about one off additions to the public debt. It’s more like a wartime situation that this is money well spent.”
The bailout is expected to focus mainly on airlines and other travel companies, along with those in hospitality and entertainment.
This morning the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned of mass job losses unless the Government acted to support pubs and restaurants.
He said: “We’ve had bold action to address people’s health, we need bold action to address people’s livelihood.
“What I am being told by theatres by restaurants is because this isn’t a ban, it’s advisory, they can’t claim insurance.
“What the government has to do is either clarify and confirm its a ban so they can claim on insurance or make sure these businesses are given some help whether that’s cash flow issues help with rates or tent or charges.
“Many of these businesses rely on cash flow to pay wages, even a week’s lack of business means they can’t page wages which means laying people off.”
The British Beer and Pub Association added that “thousands of pubs and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost in the very short term” unless the government bails it out.
Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Forced pub closures without a meaningful support package will have a catastrophic financial and social impact”.
Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England added: “As the social distancing measures announced this afternoon are only advisory, rather than an outright ban, we are deeply concerned that creative organisations and cultural spaces will find they are unable to claim compensation for the huge losses they will experience as a result of Covid-19”.