FOUR airlines and an oil company have been paid hundreds of millions of pounds in a mass bailout by the Bank of England.

EasyJet, British Airways, Ryanair and Wizz Air received a combined £1.8 billion of public money from the bank as part of a £67 billion Government loan programme for large corporations.

EasyJet and Ryanair were loaned £600 million each, while British Airways and Wizz Air were each paid £300 million. All four airlines have announced job cuts affecting Sussex workers.

Meanwhile Schlumberger, which owns Gatwick oilfield equipment firm Western Geco, was loaned £150 million in the mass bailout.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas accused the Bank of England of “bailing out climate-wreckers”.

She criticised the bank for issuing the loans without imposing conditions on how the companies should use the money.

The Argus: British Airways has been loaned £300 million in public moneyBritish Airways has been loaned £300 million in public money

“Only today the Prime Minister’s been tweeting about how we must move towards a greener, cleaner and more resilient future and the need to protect people and our planet from climate change,” the Green MP said.

“You don’t achieve that by bailing out climate-wreckers like oil and gas companies.

“As far as we know, there were no conditions attached to these bailouts either.

“At the very least, any company receiving public money should have to adopt strict climate targets, pay the full tax that they owe, and use the money they’ve received to support workers, not shareholders or bosses’ bonuses.

“Public money must go towards creating a greener, fairer, sustainable future, and helping finance a just transition to create good quality jobs.”

Brighton Greenpeace spokesman Jamie Smith said airlines had been given "cheap and easy loans".

"The Government may have made some bold claims about greening the recovery, but in reality they have missed endless opportunities over the last two months to move Britain closer to the low carbon economy we need," he said.

"We don't have limitless time and money to fix this problem, and yet the Government is wasting both."

The Argus: Ms Lucas said the Government should not bail out 'climate-wreckers'Ms Lucas said the Government should not bail out 'climate-wreckers'

The bailout programme, dubbed the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, involves the Bank of England buying debt known as commercial paper from major corporations.

This gives companies a short-term cash injection, though it will have to pay the debt back to the Bank of England with an interest rate “at or very close to” 0.1 per cent.

But unlike a mortgage, the loan is unsecured.

This means if the company says it cannot repay the loan, it will not have any of its property repossessed by the bank.

The loan programme is only open to firms which “can demonstrate they were in sound financial health” prior to the coronavirus crisis.

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