A third of SMEs say access to government loans will come too late to save their business

Thu 30 Apr 2020
Posted by: Ana Pintor
Trade News

Businesses are continuing to struggle to access government funding from schemes including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), a new survey has found.

Government funding has saved a fifth of UK SMEs so far, but a third of SMEs said it will be too late to save their business by the time they are actually able to access it.

Crucial role

The survey of 500 SME owners across the UK was conducted between 2-14 April by market research company Critical Research on behalf of Bibby Financial Services, a corporate partner of IOE&IT.

Bibby’s chief executive, David Postings, said SMEs will play a “crucial role in the economic recovery” and it was “reassuring” that the government had taken action to support them.

However, he added “it is hard to overstate the scale of the cashflow challenges they face.”

Salary support

Many SMEs reported that government measures are having a positive impact. A fifth (21%) said they had been saved from collapse and 24% said measures had deferred staff redundancies.

A half of SMEs have said salary support had been the most effective measure introduced by government so far, with grants coming a close second (47%).

However, many businesses have still not been able to access the funding, with 36% of companies saying they were unsure if they were eligible to apply and 26% saying the process was too complex or confusing.

Key findings

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Almost two fifths (38%) have had to close parts of their business
  • Almost a quarter (23%) say the business is operating as normal
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of SMEs say orders have declined since the outbreak
  • More than a third (35%) state customers are taking longer to pay than usual

You can read the full report here.