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£73bn lent to businesses via Covid loan schemes

Written by: Emma Lunn
According to HMRC, nearly £73bn has been lent to support businesses through the pandemic, with almost 1.6 million businesses seeking help through government-backed coronavirus lending schemes.

Almost 29,500 Bounce Back Loans have been approved over the past month, bringing the total number of small enterprises to access the scheme to more than 1.5 million since it launched in May last year.

More than £45.5bn has now been lent through the scheme. These totals include businesses which have opted to ‘top-up’ their Bounce Back Loans to the full £50,000, or a maximum of 25% of their turnover if lower, available through the scheme.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has provided finance to almost 92,500 businesses, while nearly £5.3bn has been lent to more than 700 businesses through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

Almost 92,500 businesses have accessed £22bn through CBILS, whilst more than 700 larger firms have utilised the CLBILS, which has provided almost £5.3bn in support.

In total, the UK banking and finance industry has supported about 27% of British businesses through the government-backed coronavirus lending schemes, almost a year since the schemes were first put in place.

Stephen Pegge, managing director of commercial finance at UK Finance, said: “The UK’s banking and finance industry has continued to provide unprecedented levels of support to help businesses through the pandemic. The sector has delivered almost £73bn in financial assistance to nearly 1.6 million businesses through the government-backed loan schemes since they were put in place last year.

“The newly outlined plans to ease lockdown restrictions mean many businesses are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. However, as the pandemic continues to cause significant economic uncertainty, many individual businesses and some specific sectors are facing extended disruption and may find themselves in financial difficulty in 2021.

“With widespread restructuring and recovery situations expected, the finance sector and related professional services are focused on the provision of capacity and expertise to help support the turnaround of companies where possible, while ensuring the sympathetic treatment of those businesses which are no longer viable.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to shake up the government’s Covid loan programme in next week’s Budget. He is rumoured to be planning to close the Bounce Back Loan Scheme at the end of March, while the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) for big firms is also likely to be shut.

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