Coronavirus: Government backing for business

Thank you for contacting me about support for businesses – in established and emerging sectors – as part of the economic recovery from coronavirus.

These are difficult times for the country and it is paramount to protect jobs and the economy.

In June, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched five new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics, to unleash Britain’s growth potential and help the economy recover from the pandemic.  The group will focus on: the future of industry; a green recovery; backing new businesses; increasing opportunity; and winning more high value investment in the UK.

I know questions have been raised about support for certain sectors.  In the case of airlines, for example, firms can draw upon a range of financial support during this challenging time, including billions of pounds worth of loans and guarantees, tax deferrals and the furlough scheme for workers.  The ministerial-led international aviation taskforce is looking at the best ways to support the industry, recognising the unique challenges they are facing. Rightly, any potential intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

In exceptional circumstances, where a viable company has exhausted all options and its failure would disproportionately harm the economy, the Government may consider support on a ‘last resort’ basis.  As the British public would expect, sensible contingency planning has been put in place and any such support would be on terms that protect the taxpayer.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.