The Bank of England has announced an emergency cut in interest rates to shore up the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Policymakers reduced rates from 0.75% to 0.25%, taking borrowing costs back down to the lowest level in history.
The Bank said it would also free up billions of pounds of extra lending power to help banks support firms.
It comes as the chancellor is expected to announce further measures to support growth and jobs in the Budget later.
The emergency rate cut comes as a sixth person died from the virus in the UK, which has a total of 382 cases.
The latest person to die was a man in his early 80s who had underlying health conditions.
Meanwhile, Manchester City’s Premier League match against Arsenal on Wednesday has been postponed as “a precautionary measure” because of the outbreak.
A number of Arsenal players are in self-isolation after coming into contact with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who tested positive for the virus..
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged to help the UK battle the impact of the coronavirus, saying the NHS will get “whatever resources it needs” during the crisis, while he is also expected to unveil measures to boost the self-employed and small businesses who are left out of pocket.
Meanwhile, NHS England said it was scaling up its capacity for testing people for the infection, with the number of cases set to rise.
The unanimous vote to cut interest rates was part of a package of measures introduced by the Bank to support the economy.
Lower interest rates are good news for borrowers and bad news for savers because High Street banks use the Bank of England base rate as a reference point for many mortgages and savings accounts.
The Bank said it expected UK economic activity to “weaken materially” over the coming months.
This could lead to temporary but “significant” disruption that meant many firms and people may not be able to pay their bills on time.
“Such issues are likely to be most acute for smaller businesses,” the Bank said.