Business groups respond to Chancellor's overhaul of business loan measures

06 Apr 2020

Business groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have responded to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's overhaul of coronavirus (COVID-19) business loan measures.

The Chancellor announced that the Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been extended 'so more small businesses can benefit', and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing. Additionally, Mr Sunak announced a new scheme to 'bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans'.

The CBI praised the changes. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: 'The Chancellor's measures are a big step forward. By providing more support for mid-tier companies, they are backing our most significant and iconic regional employers.'

The FSB also welcomed the overhaul of the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, commented: 'Time is of the essence, and therefore we welcome government action in ensuring that any viable small business that has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus can now directly access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) rather first being offered a bank's own standard commercial lending product.'

Meanwhile, the BCC stated it is pleased that the Chancellor is 'listening and responding to real-world concerns posed by firms across the UK'. Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: 'Improvements to the CBILS will help firms get access to cash more quickly, and the announcement of a new loan scheme for mid-sized companies closes a significant gap in existing support.'

The Institute of Directors (IoD) welcomed the 'sensible' measures. Jonathan Geldart, IoD Director General, said: 'It's to the Chancellor's credit that he continues to refine the government's approach in response to what's happening on the ground. The Treasury has moved at pace to remove hold-ups in the support and must keep up this effort.'

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