Over 100 UK virus deaths in a day ++ Vast bailout for self-em­ployed ++ And now min­is­ters tell us ...

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Miles Dil­worth Money Mail Re­porter

THE hous­ing mar­ket was all but frozen last night af­ter the Gov­ern­ment said moves should be sus­pended dur­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis.

Buy­ers were strongly urged to post­pone their com­ple­tion dates to avoid break­ing the rules on so­cial dis­tanc­ing.

Lenders said they would ex­tend mortgage of­fers for up to three months – al­low­ing pur­chasers to move in at a later date.

Banks had lob­bied min­is­ters for a full freeze on the prop­erty mar­ket amid con­cerns over val­u­a­tions and loans dur­ing the eco­nomic cri­sis.

The shut­down came as the Chan­cel­lor un­veiled an­other as­ton­ish­ing bailout pack­age, this time for self-em­ployed work­ers.

Rishi Su­nak said they could ap­ply for a grant worth 80 per cent of their av­er­age monthly prof­its to help them stay afloat.

But he hinted that taxes would have to rise to pay for the un­prece­dented bailouts for businesses and work­ers.

As the na­tion burst into ap­plause in trib­ute to NhS work­ers fighting the virus:

▪ The num­ber of UK vic­tims jumped by more than 100 in a day for the first time;

▪ Po­lice be­gan us­ing road­blocks and drones and were handed sweep­ing pow­ers to pun­ish breaches of the virus lock­down;

▪ The Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions threat­ened any­one cough­ing de­lib­er­ately at a key

worker could face a sen­tence of as long as two years in prison;

▪ The deputy chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer sug­gested some so­cial dis­tanc­ing mea­sures could be needed for six months;

▪ Boris Johnson’s pledge to buy thou­sands of ven­ti­la­tors de­scended into farce as No 10 was forced to ad­mit it had not joined an EU scheme be­cause the gov­ern­ment had al­legedly not re­ceived an email;

▪ Next closed its on­line op­er­a­tion amid a row over staff be­ing made to work;

▪ Health of­fi­cials launched an ur­gent re­view into re­ports of doc­tors and nurses putting them­selves at risk through a lack of pro­tec­tive cloth­ing;

▪ Vol­un­teers for a new scheme to help the NHS surged to­ward 700,000;

▪ Banks were forced into a hu­mil­i­at­ing re­treat af­ter min­is­ters warned them not to ex­ploit an emer­gency loan scheme set up to sup­port strug­gling firms;

▪ It emerged it would be weeks be­fore rapid virus tests are avail­able to iden­tify whether some­one can re­turn to work;

▪ Bri­tain be­came the big­gest con­trib­u­tor to the world’s mis­sion to find a coro­n­avirus vac­cine and save mil­lions of lives.

▪ The pro­ba­tion ser­vice aban­doned faceto-face meet­ings with all but the most se­ri­ous of­fend­ers;

▪ Rou­tine cancer screen­ing and cer­vi­cal smear tests could be halted;

▪ Global cases surged past half a mil­lion, with the US in­creas­ingly badly af­fected;

▪ Petrol prices dropped be­low £1 a litre for the first time in re­cent mem­ory.

A Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: ‘Home buy­ers and renters should, as far as pos­si­ble, de­lay mov­ing home while emer­gency mea­sures are in place to fight coro­n­avirus.

‘If mov­ing is un­avoid­able for con­trac­tual rea­sons, peo­ple must fol­low ad­vice on so­cial dis­tanc­ing to min­imise the spread of the virus. In line with the Gov­ern­ment’s ad­vice, any­one with symp­toms, self-iso­lat­ing or shield­ing from the virus, should fol­low med­i­cal ad­vice which will mean not mov­ing house for the time be­ing, if at all pos­si­ble.

‘All par­ties should pri­ori­tise agree­ing am­i­ca­ble ar­range­ments to change move dates for in­di­vid­u­als in this group, or where some­one in a chain is in this group.’

The Gov­ern­ment said there was no need to pull out of trans­ac­tions.

In ear­lier talks be­tween lenders and min­is­ters, banks said it had be­come im­pos­si­ble to sur­vey properties and their call cen­tres had been flooded by anx­ious home­own­ers ask­ing for mortgage hol­i­days.

Jeremy Leaf, a north Lon­don es­tate agent and a for­mer chair­man of the Royal In­sti­tu­tion of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors, said the Gov­ern­ment shut­down of the prop­erty mar­ket was un­heard of.

He added: ‘It’s go­ing to put a lot of peo­ple’s lives on hold. From our per­spec­tive, we just hope ev­ery­one presses the pause but­ton rather than the stop but­ton.’

The UK’s largest lenders had ear­lier slashed ac­cess to mort­gages in the big­gest cull since the fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

There are warn­ings of a price crash and a plunge in sales of up to 60 per cent over the next three months.

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