Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Nick Ferrari's forensically confronts business secretary over £350bn rescue package
18 March 2020, 08:31 | Updated: 18 March 2020, 08:36
Nick Ferrari challenges business secretary over the £350 billion package to support businesses and households during the crisis.
Nick challenged Alok Sharma MP on the Chancellor's announcement on Tuesday that homeowners will get a three month mortgage holiday during the pandemic, but did not provide any support for renters.
Mr Sharma acknowledged that the renting sector will be worried during this uncertain time: "That is why the housing secretary will be coming forward very shortly and setting out a statement of how we will support people who are renters."
Mr Sharma said he's been having regular conversations with ministers, business representatives and companies and the government is working "at pace" to see how they can support those "who are in employment and may be facing short term dislocation."
Nick asked if any more money will be made available after the initial £350 billion and Mr Sharma said "we will do whatever it takes. It's about protecting the lives of British people."
"Do you think it'll cost as much as bailing out the banks 12 years ago, that was £500 billion to bail out the banks," Nick referred to the financial crash of 2018, "now we've got virtually people dying in the streets. Surely we can do better than £350 billion."
He asked the business secretary what was more important: banks or peoples' health.
"What is important is that we support businesses and the package that you heard yesterday was about protecting peoples' jobs and that is what we're responding to," Mr Sharma said, confirming measures have been "positively received" by bodies such as the Chambers of Commerce.
"We understand that we need to stand and be ready to do more and that is precisely what we'll do."