- OFFER OF £750 MILLION TO CHARITIES ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR IMPORTANCE AND CONTRIBUTION SHOWN DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
- BUT ADMITS THERE WILL BE ‘HARDSHIP’ AHEAD FOR BUSINESSES DUE TO THE GOVERNMENT IMPOSED LOCKDOWN TAKEN TO DEAL WITH CURBING THE SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS
The chancellor; Rishi Sunak today promised to “do whatever it takes”, in dealing with the Coronavirus in terms of the current UK lockdown against the spread of the virus.
He acknowledged the importance of charities and how they’ve played a huge part in the recent pandemic; he announced a new £750m pot of cash for frontline charities across the UK – including hospices and charities helping domestic abuse victims.
Mr Sunak says £360m will be directly allocated by government departments, while £370m will go to smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund, and £60m of that will go to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The chancellor also promises to match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser later this month “pound for pound”, with a minimum pledge of £20m.
He said of the work of the charities during the Coronavirus crisis that “Charities teach us the lesson that the simplest acts have the potential to change lives.”
“At this time, when many are hurting, tired and confined, we need the gentleness of charities in our lives. Though he also added that “There are over 170,000 charities [and] we will not be able to match every pound of funding they would have received this year,” says Rishi Sunak but said that the work of the charities “…gives us hope, makes us stronger and reminds us we depend on each other.”
He also spoke about the condition of the Prime Minister and said the Mr. Johnson’s condition is improving and added the news of the PM’s hospitalisation “reminds us how indiscriminate this disease is” as “nearly everyone will known someone affected” adding “This is a terrible virus that respects no boundaries… but we are not facing it alone.”
The prime minister remains in intensive care “where his condition is improving”, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said of Mr Johnson “He has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team,” he adds.
Rishi Sunak said at every step of this process the government has followed the latest scientific and medical advice to help slow the spread of the virus.
The chancellor confirmed the largest daily rise in UK deaths – up by 938 – making the total death toll reach 7,097. He also said that tests of Coronavirus are being carried out extensively now and that 14,682 tests were carried out on Tuesday.
With regard to the people who have passed away from the illness “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have passed away”
The number of people who have died with coronavirus in UK hospitals has risen to 7,097 – a record increase of 938 in a day.
With regard to being questioned by the press following today’s update “I can assure you, we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.”
Meanwhile UK armed forces to build more temporary hospitals
Military personnel help build the Nightingale Hospital at London’s ExCel centre and the British Armed Forces are working on plans to build another five temporary hospitals to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.These hospitals will be addition to the four where work has already been completed or is under way – including the Nightingale Hospital in East London and those in Birmingham and Glasgow.
Overall there are plans to build up to 17 temporary hospitals if required.
When questioned about the future of employees and employers and how businesses are suffering financially from the lockdown as a result of Coronavirus, Mr. Sunak admitted that for businesses there would be ‘hardship’ ahead but that the Government’s Job Retention scheme was put in place to try to help employees and employers deal with the hardship of lost wages and lost income for businesses. The chancellor was asked whether UK unemployment will become as as bad as places like Norway, where the jobless rate is above 10% because of the coronavirus outbreak. He said “I will be absolutely honest, this will have a significant impact on the economy and not in an abstract way – on people’s jobs and livelihoods.”
He says the job retention scheme – that sees people being furloughed from work and paid 80% of their wages by the government – combined with other government measures will “significantly help mitigate some of the impact”.
Mr Sunak adds: “If we weren’t doing all the things we are doing, it would certainly be worse. We are doing the right things.
“I can’t say there won’t be hardship ahead, there will be… but everyone has a role to play and I am confident we will get through it.”
Coronavirus has now infected more than one million people worldwide, but its impact extends far beyond just those who have had it.
Even the frequency of use of the word “unprecedented” is unprecedented at the moment. According to Google Trends it’s been used three times more over the last two weeks than the highest point recorded previously.
As governments around the world have enacted new measures and given official advice, we take a look at the impact that it’s had on people and the world around them.
Well over 100 countries worldwide had instituted either a full or partial lockdown by the end of March 2020, affecting billions of people.