Coronavirus lending schemes support more than 1.5 million UK businesses

SMEs

Figures published by HM Treasury reveal that more than 1.5 million businesses across the country are supported by the UK’s banking and finance industry with a total of over £68 billion in lending through government-backed coronavirus lending schemes.

More than 34,500 small and micro businesses accessed a Bounce Back Loan in December, with more than 1.4 million enterprises receiving finance through the scheme since it launched in May. This total includes more than 62,000 businesses which have opted to ‘top-up’ their Bounce Back Loans to the full £50,000, or a maximum of 25 per cent of their turnover if lower, available through the scheme.

More than 82,000 businesses have now secured facilities through the CBIL scheme, while the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has allowed 675 larger firms to access almost £5 billion worth of support.

There are 28 lenders accredited to the Bounce Back Loan scheme, with the vast majority of businesses having an existing relationship with one of these firms. 113 lenders are now accredited to the CBIL scheme.

Government-backed loans are just one part of the industry’s plan to support businesses across the UK. Lenders continue to provide a range of additional measures, including working capital extensions, overdraft extensions and capital repayment holidays. The industry will continue to support businesses next year as they adapt to changes following the end of the Brexit transition period, and economic uncertainty persists as a result of the pandemic.

Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance at UK Finance, a collective voice for the banking and finance industry which represents more than more than 250 firms, said:  “The UK’s banking and finance industry continues to support businesses of all sizes across the country to help them through these challenging times.

“As the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt by businesses across the country and particularly in areas facing greater restrictions, the chancellor’s announcement that the application deadline for the schemes is being extended to the end of March 2021 will give more time for firms to access the finance they need. In addition, SMEs can also ‘top-up’ their Bounce Back Loan to the maximum value of £50,000, or 25 per cent of their turnover if lower and businesses are encouraged to contact their lender if they wish to access these additional funds from their existing loan.

“It is important to remember that any lending provided under government-backed schemes is a debt not a grant, and so firms should carefully consider their ability to repay before applying.”

Still Waters Green Technology (SWGT), a leading independent battery energy storage system (BESS) asset manager used £12 million in financing it secured from Santander UK to fund the development of a 30MW utility-scale, subsidy-free BESS asset in Swindon. This pioneering project supports the growth of renewable energy sources by providing up to 65GWh of annual import and export capacity to the National Grid during its Phase One development, which is critical to meeting the UK’s carbon emission reduction target and Net Zero ambitions.