BRC respond to Chancellor’s announcement on coronavirus finance support package

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is today (Friday 3 April) taking further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.

More than £90 million of loans to nearly 1,000 small and medium sized firms have been approved under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) since its launch last week. And a government-backed scheme to provide financing to larger companies, being operated by the Bank of England, has also provided almost £1.9 billion of support to firms and a further £1.6 billion has been committed.

To maximise the support available, the Chancellor is extending the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

In response to the announcement, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement today as it appears to address some of the concerns we have raised about the government’s coronavirus finance support package. We need to see the details of the new CLBILS soon, as quick and easy access to funds will be vital for many retail businesses that have been forced to cease trading, or seen trading significantly curtailed as part of the response to the crisis. Otherwise we risk losing many otherwise viable businesses and the jobs that they provide for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.

“Government has shown it is aware of the enormous strain that businesses are under and we remain in constant dialogue. It is vital that this is maintained as we move through the next phases of the crisis in case further action is required.”