After much criticism for being slow to get off the ground, evidence of firms accessing the government’s cash lifeline scheme is starting to come through.
On Wednesday this week, the government reported 2,500 loans had been granted, worth a combined £450m, through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) launched on 23 March.
Loans of up to £5m are provided under the CBILS, to viable businesses with a turnover up to £45m, interest free for 12 months and repayable over six years.
The scheme, administered by the state-owned British Business Bank, overseeing 40-plus high street bank lenders, has been criticised for being “cumbersome” and hard to access.
In turn, individual lenders have blamed the British Business Bank for the logjam, in particular for requiring too much detail in the application process, according to the Times.
Though banks can make their own decisions on who to lend to, they must follow rules set by British Business Bank to qualify for the Treasury’s 80% guarantee of money lent under the scheme.
Senior bankers said access was growing at a rate of 50% every day, after initial criticism was addressed, the Financial Times reported.
The paper recounts complaints by small businesses about banks’ “overworked call centres” that are hard to access a week after a loan application has been made.
Access to the scheme is through a designated portal here.
Has your business tried to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme? The Daily Update would love to hear your story. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.