‘Fatalistic’ approach to collective immunity hampered UK response to Covid, says Jeremy Hunt

BThe hardships of energy-intensive businesses affected by the surge in prices will depend on factors such as the recent payment of large bonuses, a senior minister said today.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is now considering a bailout that would see massive loans given to help struggling businesses get through the coming winter. It comes after Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, made a formal offer of support amid tensions between the two departments.

In an effort to end the briefing war, Downing Street backed the Secretary of Business yesterday, paving the way for loans and other support in the coming days.

This morning, Steve Barclay, the Cabinet Office minister, told Times Radio that conditions would be set for any company to get a bailout, although it is expected to go to its shareholders and owners.

“It’s fair from a taxpayer’s perspective, because we’re aware of this huge amount of support, to look at it in terms of value for money,” he said.

“We have to look at the companies themselves: have they recently received dividends, have they recently paid big bonuses? ” He asked. “We need to understand the details rather than having a knee-jerk response.”

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