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Monday, April 27, latest;

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new Bounce Back loan scheme, allowing small businesses hit by the impact of coronavirus measures to apply for up to £50,000, backed by a 100% Government guarantee.

Businesses can apply for a minimum of £2,000 up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of business turnover, and the Government will pay the interest for the first 12 months, with 100% backing

The scheme will open from 9am on Monday, May 4, 2020 with an online form to complete, and most loans will be paid within 24 hours of approval. There will be no forward-looking eligibility test, the Chancellor also confirmed, while businesses will be able to access the loans through the existing network of accredited lenders.

Sunak was also asked by Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, if he would adjust the Job Retention Scheme to allow for a “gradual” return to work.

Sunak acknowledged it as a very interesting suggestion, although he stated that, from Boris Johnson saying earlier that there would be “gradual refinements” to the rules, that was how the Government would proceed when it removed economic interventions. This seemed to hint that the furlough scheme may be gradually scaled down beyond June.

Matt Hancock took the daily coronavirus briefing, and said that families of NHS staff who die during their coronavirus work will get payments worth £60,000, while the Government is also looking at what can be done to help the families of other frontline workers who have died during the crisis.

When asked, Hancock said he was ‘broadly’ on target to meet the testing goal set out for April, and that the Government also wants to make it as easy as possible for people to get these tests.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke out side Downing Street yesterday on his return to work, and said it was too soon to ease the lockdown measures. Although he acknowledged the pressure to relax the rules, he said this was also a moment of “maximum risk”.

“This is the moment when we can press home our advantage. It is also the moment of maximum risk, because I know that there will be many people looking now at our apparent success and beginning to wonder whether now is the time to go easy on those social distancing measures,” said Johnson.