Coronavirus update: Welcome for government’s ‘bounce back’ loans for small firms

April 28, 2020

Business organisations have welcomed new measures by the government to help small firms survive the coronavirus pandemic, reflecting the fact that around half are being rejected for loans under the existing scheme.

Business West, the organisation that runs the Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative, said Chancellor Rishi Sunak, pictured, had listened to complaints from struggling small business owners, while the CBI described the move as “transformational” with the potential to save thousands of small firms. 

The new ‘bounce back’ loans, which will be available from 9am next Monday, will be between £2,000 and £50,000 up to the value of 25% of the business’s turnover.

They will be interest-free for the first year and, crucially, 100% backed by the government – removing the main criticism that small firms were being denied loans by banks hesitant to take on the 20% not previously guaranteed by the government.

Small businesses will now only have to show they were viable prior to the pandemic, rather than trying to prove they would be afterwards – which many had struggled to do.

Business West managing director Phil Smith said: “[This] good news will be very welcome by small business so worried about the delays experienced by many of them in applying for cash through the government’s much-heralded Coronavirus Business Intervention Loans Scheme (CBILS).

“On top of the delays, the loans only carried an 80% guarantee by government.

“So, having listened to the complaints from small business struggling to survive, the Chancellor’s team have developed a new, quick micro-loan scheme with 100% government backing.”

The Chancellor’s pledge that there would be “no complex eligibility criteria-just a simple, quick standard form for businesses to fill in” and that, for most firms, loans should arrive within 24 hours of approval were also welcomed by Business West.

“He is absolutely right,” added Mr Smith. “That is borne out by critical comments from firms to Business West’s recent Trading Through Coronavirus survey of over a thousand companies in the South West.”

British Chambers of Commerce director general Adam Marshall said the new measures demonstrated that the Chancellor had been listening to the concerns of business.

“This new route for our smallest companies to apply quickly and get a fast decision will be crucial to those who have struggled to get a CBILS loan,” he said. 

CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, pictured, also praised Mr Sunak for listening to business.

“The Chancellor’s new 100% guaranteed loan scheme for small businesses is transformational,” she said.

“Sole traders, micro-firms and entrepreneurs will now have a simple route to fast finance to stay afloat, without red tape or time-consuming checks.

“Thousands of businesses could be saved by this lifeline. Banks now need to continue their work in overdrive to get the loans flowing faster.

“It’s good to see the Chancellor listening to business, proving that where there’s a need to adjust schemes, he will do what it takes. It will be vital to maintain this approach in the months to come. Every job saved today will ensure a faster recovery tomorrow.”


Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Swindon & Wiltshire for just £70 a month. Email for more information.