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Coronavirus: Rishi Sunak expands government loan scheme to support large businesses

Rishi Sunak has expanded the Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

2 min read

A government loan scheme designed to help firms deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been expanded to help large businesses.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak acted amid mounting fears that even relatively wealthy companies were at risk of going bust as a result of the crisis.

It means that all firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance.

Meanwhile, firms with a turnover of more than £250 million.will be able to get a government-backed loan of up to £50 from lenders.

Under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Treasury guarantees to underwrite 80% of the loan in order to encourage banks to provide the cash to struggling firms.

When it was first unveiled last month, companies with turnovers of more than £500 million were not eligible to take part.

But Mr Sunak said: "I want to ensure that no viable business slips through our safety net of support as we help protect jobs and the economy. That is why we are expanding this generous scheme for larger firms.

"This is a national effort and we’ll continue to work with the financial services sector to ensure that our £330 billion of government support, through loans and guarantees, reaches as many businesses in need as possible."

It is hoped that the cash will be available to all businesses in the UK from Monday.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Coronavirus has struck a heavy blow against businesses of all sizes across the UK.

"Expanding this scheme will provide larger firms with the support they need during the pandemic, helping to provide job security to thousands of people and protect our economy."

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: "The Government deserves credit for showing willingness to continue to adapt its coronavirus response.

"This development of the loan scheme should help mid-sized firms, which play a vital role in their supply chains and local communities.

"This crisis justifies exceptional measures and we need to keep the foot on the gas to get the support to the businesses that need it."

The announcement came as Dominic Raab confirmed that the UK's coronavirus lockdown will continue for at least another three weeks.


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