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"Exceptional" package of support announced for businesses

The Prime Minister has called for all cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs to close as of midnight as the government steps up its plans to combat coronavirus.

Takeaways were not listed as one of the businesses that must close, while restaurants are still allowed to offer a takeaway service.

The Chancellor also announced an "unprecedented" package of support to businesses, which includes:

- Help to pay wages for the first time in history via a new Coronavirus Job Protection Scheme. Any employer in the UK will be eligible and they should contact HMRC for a grant. These grants will cover 80% of salaries, up to £2,500 per month. Employers can top up if they choose to.

- It will cover the cost of wages back-dated to anyone on the pay role as of 1st March and will be open for three months. There is no limit on the funding.

- Further cash flow support was pledged through the tax system - deferring the next quarter of VAT payments. Businesses won't pay VAT until the end of June.

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