Over £1.1 Billion of Coronavirus Loans Already Made to British SMEs – But Concerns Remain
According to a financial industry group, UK Finance, British lenders had last week provided over £1.1 billion to smaller companies since March under the Government-backed coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (“CBILS“).
Over 6,000 loans have been provided to small and medium-sized enterprises so far under the Government-backed CBILS. The week leading up to these figures saw an increase of 150% on the amount of lending, which grew by £700 million since the week before, according to UK Finance.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said, “We expect this figure to continue to grow rapidly as lenders work hard to help get Britain through the current crisis.”
However, there are concerns that funding is not being provided fast enough to struggling firms. The 6,000 loans provided represents only 20% of the applications made for funding. Like all businesses, staffing levels at banks are lower than usual as employees self-isolate at home.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a statement last Wednesday that “It’s vital we continue this upward trajectory.”
The CBILS was introduced on 17 March 2020 to allow the Government to underwrite loans of up to £5 million to companies that are unable to obtain finance. The scheme was expanded this month to all viable small and midsized businesses that have faced financial difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic.