18th March 2020

South Shropshire MP and former Health Minister, Philip Dunne, is urging people to take seriously government advice, and businesses to access new support made available by the Chancellor in the face of the coronavirus spread.

Businesses who need cash to pay salaries, rent, suppliers or buy stock will be able to access government-backed loans or guarantees. There is also further help for businesses in our communities, so every shop, pub, restaurant, and business in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, of whatever size, will pay no business rates for 12 months, and for those which are small businesses (rateable value under £51,000) there will be a cash grant up to £25,000. 

In the Budget last week, the government also announced it would be providing £3,000 grants to the 700,000 of our smallest businesses in any sector who receive Small Business Rate Relief. To support their cash flow, the Chancellor has gone further, increasing those grants to £10,000.

Government is working hard to put in place the delivery mechanisms for these grants, and information on how to access support will be available on as soon as confirmed.

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts with loans of up to £5m, with the first 6 months interest free.

For individuals with difficulty in paying their mortgage due to COVID19, the Chancellor announced that lenders will be prepared to provide a three month mortgage holiday. There are also support arrangements for those on benefits and further discussions with employers organisations and trade unions taking place to consider other measures to support people in work and looking at how those who are renting can be supported.

Mr Dunne said: “The Coronavirus (COVID19) crisis is the worst global health pandemic since Spanish Flu struck in 1918. The speed of transmission and the potential threat to life for those in high risk, mean exceptional measures are required for exceptional times. The UK government is acting on latest scientific advice in a rapidly developing environment.

This public health emergency is also rapidly becoming an economic emergency. So after initial measures of £30bn in the Budget last week, on Tuesday evening the Chancellor announced an unprecedented emergency support package of £350bn, equivalent to 15% of the country’s GDP. 

It is vital people follow the government advice and self-isolate where appropriate, especially if they are considered vulnerable. Those at high risk should be self-isolating at home, which includes everyone over 70, those who are pregnant, and those under 70 with existing medical conditions.”

Mr Dunne, who had responsibility for hospitals and workforce while a Minister at the Department of Health, added: “The NHS will get whatever resources it needs. Non-emergency operations are being cancelled for three months to free up 30,000 beds. Manufacturers are being sought to increase ventilator capacity. Retired clinicians who are not themselves in high risk groups are being encouraged to offer to help.”

Latest information and guidance on coronavirus, including advice for businesses, is available at

Coronavirus - COVID-19

Image by Olga Lionart from Pixabay

For the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus pandemic visit

For the latest medical advice visit

For business support click here


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