COVID-19

Bank of England, U.K. government take policy action over COVID-19

Victoria Craig Mar 11, 2020
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Mark Carney (left), governor of the Bank of England, and Andrew Bailey, governor-designate of the Bank of England, arrive to attend a news conference on March 11, 2020. Peter Summers - WPA Pool/Getty Images
COVID-19

Bank of England, U.K. government take policy action over COVID-19

Victoria Craig Mar 11, 2020
Mark Carney (left), governor of the Bank of England, and Andrew Bailey, governor-designate of the Bank of England, arrive to attend a news conference on March 11, 2020. Peter Summers - WPA Pool/Getty Images
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The Bank of England announced an emergency rate cut, just hours before the government outlined new spending plans.

In an unscheduled and unanimous decision, policymakers at the Bank of England slashed its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 0.25%.

Later, the government announced no property tax for a year for leisure and hospitality businesses, government-covered sick pay costs for companies with 250 employees or fewer, fresh infrastructure spending and a whatever-it-takes pledge to support the National Health Service.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the virus will have a significant impact on the economy, but noted he expects it to be temporary and that he’ll take further action if needed.

The interest rate cut is the biggest since 2009, and is part of a package of measures aimed at boosting confidence and combating what the bank deems a temporary but highly uncertain economic impact from the new coronavirus outbreak.

The bank is also freeing up billions of dollars in extra lending power to help banks support small and medium-sized businesses.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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