BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission said on Monday it had approved a 50 billion pound ($61.5 billion) British “umbrella” scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak.
The approval is in line with modified EU rules allowing a temporary and limited amount of aid to businesses facing a sudden shortage of liquidity. The British aid would take the form of grants, equity injections, tax advantages and loans.
Britain left the European Union at the end of January, but continues to be subject to EU rules for a transition period set to last until the end of 2020.
With the coronavirus lockdown ravaging European economies, the bloc has stepped up calls for London to extend that time to allow the sides to agree on a new trade partnership after talks came to a virtual halt as capitals switched focus to fighting the pandemic.($1 = 0.8135 pounds)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has previously repeatedly ruled out such a possibility, was in hospital in London for tests on Monday suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop)