COVID-19 loan schemes benefitting all corners of UK

The proportion of overall loans under coronavirus schemes in each of the nine English regions, as well as the three devolved nations, closely matches their respective share of the UK business population, according to data published by the British Business Bank.

Eleven per cent of the total number of loans from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) are in the East of England, the highest usage of the CBILS outside London and the South-East (33%).

The North-West, with 11% of the total number of Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) loans in the UK, has reported highest usage of BBLS outside London and the South-East (34%).

Both the CBILS and the BBLS have been providing financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Business Bank CEO, Keith Morgan, commented: “A key objective for the British Business Bank is to identify and help reduce regional imbalances in access to finance for smaller businesses across the UK.

“It is welcome to see in the data that these schemes are helping businesses across the UK’s three devolved nations and nine English regions to access the finance they need to survive and stabilise, putting them in a better position to grow as we move into recovery.”

The British Business Bank data showed that other regions demonstrating strong use of CBILS are the North-West (10%) and South-West (9%). Furthermore, the Bank indicated that take up of the CBILS in the devolved nations is comparable to the proportion of the local business population of each nation – with take up in Scotland (5%), Wales (3%) and Northern Ireland (2%).

For the BBLS, the new figures showed the regions demonstrating strong use include the East of England (10%), West Midlands (8%), South-West (8%), Yorkshire and the Humber (7%) and the East Midlands (6%). The Bank stated that take up in the devolved nations is Scotland (6%), Wales (4%) and Northern Ireland (2%).
“Lenders understand that times are tough for businesses up and down the country, but the industry has a clear plan to help them get through this crisis,” UK Finance managing director of commercial finance, Stephen Pegge, added.

“Whether you’re a sole trader in a rural area or a company with hundreds of employees in a major city, the banking and finance industry stands ready to offer the right support to suit your needs and these figures demonstrate that funding is well distributed throughout the UK.

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

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