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Coronavirus General

Bank of England boss: Don’t fire people because of pandemic

Firms thinking of firing staff due to the coronavirus crisis should consider the support available to them first, the new Bank of England boss has said.

Andrew Bailey urged UK firms to “stop, look at what’s available, come and talk to us [or] the government before you take that position”.

He added that his “big message” for firms and citizens was that “we will be there to support your needs”.

Many firms may have to cut staff amid a slump in demand caused by the virus.

Airlines, retailers, restaurants, theatres and pubs have all said they have been pushed to the brink as people are limiting all but essential social contact.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak responded with a £350bn stimulus package to support struggling firms, including £330bn of business loan guarantees.

He also promised a business rates holiday and grants for retailers and pubs – although there are concerns the measures do not go far enough.

Asked if the loan subsidies were available even to those companies that had already fired people, Mr Bailey told the BBC: “I would emphasise the point that it’s critical that we support the needs of the people in the country.”

Asked again if the authorities were providing a “bridge” beyond the crisis for people who need to buy food, as well for businesses, the governor said there were “important discussions” going on between companies and the Treasury.

The message, he said, was that “supporting the employment and income of the people in this country is critical”.

Source BBC 18-03-2020