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The Chancellor clarifies government support for restaurants

A day on from announcing that everyone should avoid going to pubs, clubs and other hospitality industry (which left the people responsible for those restaurants justifiably angry), the Prime Minister and Chancellor have been back at their podiums for a second day's briefing.

Today London's restaurants and bars were on tenterhooks waiting to find out what economic aid they'd be getting from the government.

Insurance

To begin with, he addressed concerns over the issue of business insurance, saying; "For those venues which do have a policy that covers pandemics - the government action is sufficient to allow them to make claims."

A statement just released by the Association of British Insurers supports the Chancellor's statement but points out that insurance is unlikely to be helpful in these circumstances. It said: "The vast majority of firms won't have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance for their business being closed by the Coronavirus. Standard business interruption cover...does not include forced closure by authorities."

It went on to say that while some companies might have purchased an extension to cover insurance for closure due to infectious diseases, any payments "will depend on the precise nature of the cover they have purchased." And we're certainly hearing anecdotally that because Coronavirus is a new disease it isn't generally covered.

Business rates

The next key step was to offer all businesses in the hospitality industry a business rates holiday, irrespective of their rateable value. This was in addition to steps announced last week in the budget.

Grants and loans

For those businesses worrying how they might get through the next few months and who don't have a valid interruption of business insurance policy, the government will be providing cash grants of up to £25k per business "to help bridge through this period."

They'll also be supplying guaranteed loans throughout the crisis - but whether that will ease the problem or delay it is debatable.

We'll update this story with reactions as they come in. In the meantime - see how London's restaurants are changing during the Coronavirus pandemic

 

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