Institute of Export & International Trade director general Marco Forgione has called for “specific help” for road hauliers and shippers after the Chancellor yesterday unveiled a £330bn package of loans and grants to help UK businesses through the coronavirus crisis.
In a speech that promised the government would “stand behind business small and large”, airlines were promised “potential” help, but hauliers and shippers were not referenced.
“In broad terms, we welcome the Chancellor’s package,” Forgione said.
“However, it’s essential that road hauliers, who act as the engine of ensuring that supplies go where they are needed, are given specific help. Overall, more needs to be done on asset financing and help for exporters.”
Mr Forgione is meeting with the Department of International Trade tomorrow, Thursday March 19.
Irish PM praises road hauliers
Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar used his St Patrick’s Day TV address to single out road hauliers for their role “in the front line” of battling the virus.
Varadkar praised “the [road] hauliers who leave their families on a Sunday evening to cross the Continent to ensure we have the products, medicines and equipment we need. To all those who keep our supply chain moving – it’s a front line service too”.
Chancellor’s business package
The new measures to help business include:
- To support larger firms, the Chancellor unveiled a low-cost lending facility from the Bank of England.
- For SMEs, the recently launched Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now provide loans of up to £5m with no interest for the first six months.
- Grants of between £10,000-25,000 will be available for small businesses.
- Tax cuts and other measures worth £20bn will be introduced, including extended grants and business rate holidays for the hospitality sector in particular.
- The business rates holiday will be extended to all firms in the hospitality sector.
Fallout could last over a year
The new package follows the PM’s moves on Monday to escalate ‘social distancing’ in order to stem the outbreak.
Mr Sunak had previously said the economy could be living with the fallout from coronavirus for a “year or more”.
Yesterday, asked how bad things will get for the UK economy in the next year, the Chancellor said: "This will be temporary and we will get through it together. All [these] interventions are designed to provide that bridge to emerge stronger."