The Chancellor Rishi Sunak provided an updated statement on coronavirus unveiling on 20 March a further series of measures to support people, jobs and businesses. Here is a transcript of his speech made that day.
The economic intervention that I’m announcing today is unprecedented in the history of the British state.
Combined with our previous announcements on public services and business support, our planned economic response will be one of the most comprehensive in the world.
Let me speak directly to people’s concerns.
I know that people are worried about losing their jobs.
About not being able to pay the rent or the mortgage.
About not having enough set by for food and bills.
I know that some people in the last few days have already lost their jobs.
To all those at home right now, anxious about the days ahead, I say this: you will not face this alone.
But getting through this will require a collective national effort, with a role for everyone to play – people, businesses and government.
It’s on all of us.
To meet our commitment to that effort, I am today announcing a combination of measures unprecedented for a government of this nation.
Our Plan for People’s Jobs and Incomes, will: * Protect people’s jobs; * Offer more generous support to those who are without employment; * Strengthen the safety net for those who work for themselves; * And help people who stay in their homes.
The first part of our plan is to protect people’s jobs.
This week, the Government has taken unprecedented steps to fight the coronavirus.
We have closed schools. We have told people to stay at home to prevent the spread of infection. We are now closing restaurants and bars.
Those steps are necessary to save lives.
But we don’t do this lightly – we know those measures will have a significant economic impact.
I have a responsibility to make sure we protect, as far as possible, people’s jobs and incomes.
Today I can announce that, for the first time in our history, the government is going to step in and help to pay people’s wages.
We’re setting up a new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit - will be eligible for the scheme.
Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off.
Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – that’s above the median income.
And, of course, employers can top up salaries further if they choose to.
That means workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open initially for at least three months - and I will extend the scheme for longer if necessary.
I am placing no limit on the amount of funding available for the scheme. We will pay grants to support as many jobs as necessary.
And can I put on record my thanks to the Trades Union Congress, the CBI and other business groups, for our constructive conversations.
We said we would stand together with the British people – and we meant it.
We have never had a scheme in our country like this before – and we’re having to build our systems from scratch.
I can assure you that HMRC are working night and day to get the scheme up and running and we expect the first grants to be paid within weeks – and we’re aiming to get it done before the end of April.
But I know that many businesses are hurting now.
I have already taken extraordinary measures to make cash available to businesses, through loans, grants and guarantees.
I can announce today that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will not be interest free, as previously planned, for 6 months – it will now be interest free for twelve months.
Thanks to the enormous efforts of our critical financial services sector, those loans will now be available starting on Monday.
And I will announce further measures next week, on top of those the Governor and I have already taken to ensure that larger and medium sized companies can also access the credit they need.
I’m also announcing today further cash flow support through the tax system.
To help businesses pay people and keep them in work, I am deferring the next quarter of VAT payments.
That means no business will pay any from now until the end of June; and you will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.
That is a direct injection of £30bn of cash to employers, equivalent to 1.5% of GDP.
Let me speak directly to businesses.
I know its tough out there.
We in government are doing everything we can to support you.
We’re paying people’s wages up to 80% so someone can be furloughed rather than laid off to protect their jobs.
We’re deferring £30bn of taxes until the end of the financial year.
We’re lending unlimited sums of money interest free for 12 months.
We’re abolishing business rates altogether this year if you are in hospitality, retail and leisure.
We’re providing cash grants of £25,000 for small business properties.
The Government is doing its best to stand behind you – and I am asking you to do your best, to stand behind our workers.
We’re launching in the coming days a major national advertising campaign to communicate the available support for businesses and people.
Please look very carefully at that support before making decisions to lay people off.
It’s on all of us.
We are starting a great national effort to protect jobs. But the truth is we are already seeing job losses. And there may be more to come.
I cannot promise you that no one will face hardship in the weeks ahead.
So we will also act to protect you if the worst happens.
To strengthen the safety net, I’m increasing today the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year.
For the next twelve months, I’m increasing the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount as well.
Together these measures will benefit over 4 million of our most vulnerable households.
And I’m strengthening the safety net for self-employed people too, by suspending the minimum income floor for everyone affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus.
That means every self-employed person can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
Taken together, I’m announcing nearly £7bn of extra support through the welfare system to strengthen the safety net and protect people’s incomes.
And to support the self-employed through the tax system, I’m announcing today that the next self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021.
As well as keeping people in work and supporting those who lose their jobs or work for themselves, our Plan for Jobs and Incomes will help keep a roof over your head.
We’ve acted already to make sure homeowners can get a three-month mortgage holiday if they need it.
I’m announcing today nearly £1bn of support for renters, by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit, so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area.
The actions I have taken today represent an unprecedented economic intervention to support the jobs and incomes of the British people.
A new, comprehensive job retention scheme.
And a significantly strengthened safety net.
Unprecedented measures, for unprecedented times.
Let me close with one final observation.
Now, more than any time in our recent history, we will be judged by our capacity for compassion.
Our ability to come through this,won’t just be down to what government or business can do, but by the individual acts of kindness we show one another.
The small business who does everything they can not to lay off their staff.
The student who does a shop for their elderly neighbour.
The retired nurse who volunteers to cover some shifts in their local hospital.
When this is over, and it will be over, we want to look back at this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us.
We want to look back this time and remember how we thought first of others and acted with decency.
We want to look back on this time and remember how, in the face of a generation-defining moment, we undertook a collective national effort - and we stood together.
It’s on all of us.
Published 20 March 2020
Updated guidance for employers, businesses and employees is available at:
From Dorset Council- We know that many people in our communities want to help and we want to harness that goodwill - we are going to need it. We are working with public sector partners and charities across Dorset to respond to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
I want to help - who do I contact?
If you want to help but are not sure where to start, register with the Dorset Volunteering Centre in the first instance. Click the button below to visit the page and register.
I know someone who needs help - who do I contact?
Age UK (North, South and West Dorset) are coordinating requests for help with issues relating to loneliness and isolation, or support in accessing items such as food, cash or medication.
To request help email: firstname.lastname@example.org call 01305 269444
Each request will be individually assessed and categorised according to the individual’s level of need.
Volunteering - things to think about
Before considering volunteering, ask yourself if you are well enough to volunteer and think about the following:
Try and work as a pair, this will alleviate some concerns about safeguarding and offer protection for yourself and the person you're helping
Always tell someone where you're going and when you anticipate returning
Carry a mobile phone with you
Try to volunteer in daylight hours only
Carry a torch with you if you can’t avoid volunteering in the dark
Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away at all times - this reduces the risk of potential infection to yourself and the person you're helping
Avoid entering the home of the person you're helping
Don't take credit cards from individuals, and keep any receipts for items purchased on behalf of others
Photograph all receipts and purchases for your records
Don't assume that someone needs help or call at a house unexpectedly - anxieties are high at the moment and people need to follow guidance with regards to opening their front doors, especially if they are self-isolating
Consider dropping a note through the door as a first offer of help (but wash your hands before doing so)
Don't get disheartened if a volunteering role is not found for you immediately - the response to this crisis is growing daily and the volunteering response will grow with it
Only assist with activities which have been risk assessed - if you're asked to carry out a different activity, contact your volunteer coordinator / voluntary group for guidance
Always put yourself in the shoes of the person you're helping, ask how you would like to be treated if the situation was reversed
For your peace of mind and that of people you support, a DBS check may be required for some activity – check with the Volunteer Centre
For more information and links relating to the above topics, please click on the links below
I very much regret that The Stalbridge Community Volunteer Car Scheme (SCVCS) will be unable to provide Drivers for the registered Passengers until further Notice.
There are already a few Booked Journeys for appointments from now until the 15th April next. We hope that we will still be able to meet those prior Bookings, but we will be unable to take on any more Journeys from today and until further notice.
If we have to cancel a prior Booking we will let you know as soon as possible.
In the same way, if those with a prior Booking are notified of a cancellation or other arrangements by their Surgery or Hospital it is important that they let us know immediately.
We hope to be able to resume our normal service when the NHS/Government Guidelines allow.
Quite simply, events are moving very fast and a large proportion of our Drivers have had to withdraw or self-isolate on NHS advice. This is because a lot of them are over 70 years of age, may have families at risk and may have other non-infectious health problems such as Asthma, Respiratory weakness or a compromised Immune system that would make them more susceptible to infection themselves.
Both Mobile phone numbers will remain open and operative, 07512 489 531 for Tony, (Administration and general enquiries or new registrations) and 07746 100 299 for Annie or Helen for back up general information.
We also hope to operate the mobile phones for those registered Members who might have a specific need or just want someone to talk to because they are isolated and lonely – “Phone Buddies”.
The phone numbers above would not be emergency numbers and any medical enquiries should continue to be directed to the Surgery or Hospital or whoever else according to their issued instructions.
(SCVCS Administrator & a Co-ordinator)
Citizens Advice Central Dorset continues to provide support to local people who need advice in these difficult times. We can help individuals and families who are struggling with financial difficulties, who need advice to resolve employment or housing issues, or with anything else that is having an impact on their lives.
We have taken the difficult decision to close our face to face services but have increased capacity on our phone and email services. The Adviceline service is well established in Dorset and can be manned by people working in one of our offices or at home.
Dear friends and neighbours
In the current situation we are all watching the national news and listening to messages and advice from Central Government. I am sure we can bring our thoughts back to our local community here in the smallest town in Dorset. Let’s foster and grow our great local community spirit in looking after each other through this challenging time. Our local businesses are gearing up to help people with food & medication deliveries. I’m sure you are all thinking about your friends and neighbours and letting them know they can contact you if they need help, should they find themselves needing to social distance or stay at home.
The Town Council are meeting on Wednesday 18th March to agree a continuity plan for the services it provides and there will be more news to follow from this.
With my very best wishes
Chairman Stalbridge Town Council
We thought it might be useful to print a transcript of the statement on coronavirus made yesterday afternoon 16th March 2020 by the Prime Minister.
Good afternoon everybody, thank you very much for coming. I wanted to bring everyone up to date with the national fight back against the new coronavirus and the decisions that we’ve just taken in COBR for the whole of the UK.
As we said last week, our objective is to delay and flatten the peak of the epidemic by bringing forward the right measures at the right time, so that we minimise suffering and save lives. And everything we do is based scrupulously on the best scientific advice.
Last week we asked everyone to stay at home if you had one of two key symptoms: a high temperature or a new and continuous cough.
Today, we need to go further, because according to SAGE [the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies] it looks as though we’re now approaching the fast growth part of the upward curve.
And without drastic action, cases could double every 5 or 6 days.
So, first, we need to ask you to ensure that if you or anyone in your household has one of those two symptoms, then you should stay at home for fourteen days.
That means that if possible you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others. If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
And even if you don’t have symptoms and if no one in your household has symptoms, there is more that we need you to do now.
So, second, now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.
We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.
It goes without saying, we should all only use the NHS when we really need to. And please go online rather than ringing NHS 111.
Now, this advice about avoiding all unnecessary social contact, is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.
And if you ask, why are we doing this now, why now, why not earlier, or later? Why bring in this very draconian measure?
The answer is that we are asking people to do something that is difficult and disruptive of their lives.
And the right moment, as we’ve always said, is to do it when it is most effective, when we think it can make the biggest difference to slowing the spread of the disease, reducing the number of victims, reducing the number of fatalities.
And as we take these steps we should be focusing on the most vulnerable.
So third, in a few days’ time – by this coming weekend – it will be necessary to go further and to ensure that those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks.
And again the reason for doing this in the next few days, rather than earlier or later, is that this is going to be very disruptive for people who have such conditions, and difficult for them, but, I believe, it’s now necessary.
And we want to ensure that this period of shielding, this period of maximum protection coincides with the peak of the disease.
And it’s now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming faster in some parts of the country than in others.
And it looks as though London is now a few weeks ahead.
So, to relieve the pressure on the London health system and to slow the spread in London, it’s important that Londoners now pay special attention to what we are saying about avoiding non-essential contact, and to take particularly seriously the advice about working from home, and avoiding confined spaces such as pubs and restaurants.
Lastly, it remains true as we have said in the last few weeks that risks of transmission of the disease at mass gatherings such as sporting events are relatively low.
But obviously, logically as we advise against unnecessary social contact of all kinds, it is right that we should extend this advice to mass gatherings as well.
And so we’ve also got to ensure that we have the critical workers we need, that might otherwise be deployed at those gatherings, to deal with this emergency.
So from tomorrow, we will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers in the way that we normally do. So mass gatherings, we are now moving emphatically away from.
And I know that many people – including millions of fit and active people over 70 – may feel, listening to what I have just said, that there is something excessive about these measures.
But I have to say, I believe that they are overwhelmingly worth it to slow the spread of the disease, to reduce the peak, to save life, minimise suffering and to give our NHS the chance to cope.
Over the last few days, I have been comparing notes and talking to leaders around the world and I can tell you that the UK is now leading a growing global campaign amongst all our friends and allies, whether in the G7, the G20, the UN, the IMF – all those bodies in which we play a significant role.
We’re leading a campaign to fight back against this disease.
To keep the economy growing, to make sure that humanity has access to the drugs and the treatments that we all need, and the UK is also at the front of the effort to back business, to back our economy, to make sure that we get through it.
I know that today we are asking a lot of everybody. It is far more now than just washing your hands - though clearly washing your hands remains important.
But I can tell you that across this country, people and businesses in my experience are responding with amazing energy and creativity to the challenge that we face, and I want to thank everybody for the part that you are playing and are going to play.
Published 16 March 2020