Coronavirus: Holes remain in government's bold plans

Rishi Sunak Image copyright Matt Dunham/EPA
Image caption Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of financial measures to support the economy on Tuesday

As we discussed earlier, the government had to act credibly, and act fast.

There is no question that offering to pump more than ?300bn into the economy to protect it from the worst is a very serious move - the lion's share government backed loans, with around ?20bn of grants and tax cuts too.

You can't question the government's intention tonight to show boldness and to show intent that they will do "whatever it takes" (the chancellor and the PM's mantra) not just to support the health of the country, but our livelihoods too.

Rarely, but every now and then, there is a day in Westminster when it feels like the landscape has transformed - and this is one of them.

Not just because the size of the promises is vast and represents a huge extension of state intervention in the economy; also, it will have massive implications for the taxpayer for years and years to come.

One insider whispered to me that the moves could end up with the government essentially supporting every UK business in one way or another, and the national debt ballooning once again.

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Together with sweeping new powers in the government's emergency legislation, which also deserves careful scrutiny, the government is clearly buckling up for a period of profound disruption and change, and that will see ministers' roles become much more central in all of our lives.

There are still holes in the vast plans - it's not yet clear what will happen to people who rent their homes rather than have mortgages.

Can businesses who are making decisions right now about whether they need to shut up shop possibly get money and support fast enough to stave off the worst?

Can families who have lost their sources of income get help quickly so they can pay the bills right now?

There is pressure on the ministers to answer these, and many other questions as quickly as they can.

But with the government announcing enormous and expensive emergency promises, planes grounded, hospital operations cancelled, even religious worship curtailed, for now, even if on a temporary basis, the UK is changing before our eyes.

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