Tuesday 30 June 2020 9:56 am

UK businesses borrow over £43bn to survive coronavirus

Save our SMEs

The UK’s businesses have borrowed over £43bn so far in total to survive the coronavirus pandemic, new data from the Treasury has revealed.

Despite the mammoth lending programme, the approval rate for the flagship coronavirus business interruption loans scheme (CBILS) is still lingering around 50 per cent.

Read more: Pace of furloughing slows as cost of job support measures tops £44bn

Of the 104,569 applications made for funding, 52,275 claims have been approved to a combined value of £11.1bn.

The bounce back loan scheme remains the most popular, with nearly 1.2m applications thus far, the new data showed.

With a much higher approval rate, 967,321 of these have been granted thus far, totalling £29.5bn.

Bounce back loans allow small businesses to receive a loan worth a quarter of their turnover, up to £50,000, within as little as 24 hours.

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The loan scheme for larger companies too big to apply for CBILS – the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme (CLBILS) – has paid out £2.3bn so far, with 359 successful applications.

It has also improved its approval rate. In the last week, 46 new applications for the funding was made, with 44 of these successful.

Under the lending programmes, businesses borrow the funding from the UK’s banks, with the government underwriting between 80 and 100 per cent of the loans according to the specific programme.

The Future Fund, which is designed to protect the country’s start-ups, has also provided £320.6m in funding thus far, with 322 bids approved.

The borrowing schemes have been critical in preventing mass bankruptcies across a business community ravaged by coronavirus, and last week the CBI urged the government to run the CBILS programme until November.

At the moment the programme is set to send in August but CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said that the “survival of many firms still hangs in the balance”.

Read more: CBI urges government to extend business loans scheme

She said she was particularly worried about rising unemployment, suggesting that ministers also extend the job retention furlough scheme.

Yesterday a YouGov poll showed that almost half of UK businesses said they were expecting to lay off employees due to the crisis.