UK businesses borrow £800m in recovery loans

·2 min read

Only a little over 5,000 businesses have tapped into a Government scheme to help them recover from the pandemic, in a slow take-up of new support compared with what was offered in the early days of lockdown.

The British Business Bank said £822.8 million had been borrowed by 5,137 businesses across the UK since the Recovery Loan Scheme was launched in April.

About 1,000 more firms have been told they can borrow up to £200 million, but have yet to tap into the money.

The 76 banks that are part of the scheme are funnelling money into the recovery much more slowly than when they were trying to rescue businesses from collapse last year.

At this point in the life of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which launched in March 2020, the banks had approved £15.45 billion of loans to 66,585 companies.

The need at this point is much lower than it was as companies tried to stave off potential collapse after being forced to close.

“Businesses up and down the country are beginning to look beyond the pandemic towards the opportunities available to them in the recovery,” said British Business Bank chief executive Catherine Lewis La Torre.

“The British Business Bank is committed to supporting smaller businesses in accessing the finance they need to grow sustainably in the future.

“In meeting the £1 billion milestone, the Recovery Loan Scheme is demonstrating its impact by helping thousands of companies to fund their further development.”

The recovery loans were launched in April as the three previous Government-backed Covid loan schemes came to a close.

By the time it ended the CBILS had paid £26.39 billion to nearly 110,000 firms. The sister scheme for larger businesses, called CLBILS, paid £5.56 billion to 753 companies.

The biggest scheme was Bounce Back Loans, which lent £47.36 billion to almost 1.6 million companies.

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