JustUs founder Lee Birkett has launched a petition urging the Treasury to allow coronavirus business interruption loans (CBILS) to be channelled through fintech firms.
Birkett’s petition outlines how the scheme would work and argues it would be faster than relying on banks.
For loans up to £50,000, it suggests, applicants could submit a self-declared application based on their 2019 revenues that could be signed online with loans disbursed within 24 hours.
A financial adviser or accountant could verify pre-coronavirus revenues and cashflow for loans between £50,000 and £5m, Birkett argues, which could be distributed within 48 hours.
The petition calls on the British Business Bank to approve more digital and non-bank lenders.
So far, most accredited lenders of CBILS are banks although Funding Circle was approved last week.
“CBILS cannot be accessed by many small and innovative companies that do not meet all of the criteria,” the petition said.
“It has been reported that one million businesses will go out of business in four weeks, putting 10m people out of work.
“We are asking the UK government to approve digital lending platforms so they can deliver help quickly to small businesses and the self-employed.
“The agile nature of the great British fintech means funding can be made available quickly and at scale for the millions of small British businesses stricken by the coronavirus lockdown.”
The petition had received almost 700 signatures this morning (20 April).