Peer-to-peer lenders could benefit from a financial boost given to the British Business Bank (BBB) during a Budget dominated by support for small businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Delivering his first Budget as chancellor, Rishi Sunak pledged resources for the BBB to make up to £200m of additional investment in UK venture capital and growth finance.
The BBB has previously backed P2P loans on platforms including Funding Circle and RateSetter through its British Business Investments subsidiary.
Sunak also listened to concerns from small businesses about how to cope with the coronavirus.
He unveiled a £1.2m temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme that will be delivered by the BBB to support access to bank lending and overdrafts, with a guarantee of 80 per cent on each loan by the government.
He also announced there would be more support for firms unable to pay tax due to coronavirus and said firms with fewer than 250 employees would have the first 14 days of sick pay for an employee refunded.
Business rates were also abolished for high street firms with a rateable value below £51,000.
Read more: P2P lenders lay out Budget requests
“The announcement is welcome news for Britain’s hard-working retailers – a sector that has seen several years of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and, more recently, coronavirus taking its toll,” Chirag Shah, chief executive of Nucleus Commercial Finance, said.
“The abolition of business rates in 2020 to all small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a rateable value below £51,000 is the support they have long been hoping for.
“With three quarters of SME owners saying that a reduction to business rates would improve their ability to deliver on their business ambitions, today’s news provides a boost to create a level playing field where the high street can once again compete with online retailers.
“While this announcement provides immediate relief to small businesses, the chancellor must now deliver long-term plans for the future of business rates in the Autumn Statement.”