Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce a new extension of the three main government-backed coronavirus loan schemes.
According to reporting by the Financial Times, Sunak is preparing to extend the application deadline for the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme (CLBILS) and the bounce back loan scheme (BBLS) until the end of March 2021.
This would mark the second time that the schemes have been extended. Initially set to end on 30 September 2020, the deadlines were then pushed back to the end of January 2021.
Whitehall sources told the Financial Times that the extension is intended to offer relief to business owners across the UK as the pandemic continues, and ahead of any Brexit-related disruption to supply chains.
Earlier today, HM Treasury (HMT) data confirmed that more than £68bn has been delivered to businesses via CBILS, CLBILS and BBLS in the year to date. £2.67bn of loans were approved over the past month alone.
“The latest data from HMT on the coronavirus business loan schemes shows an increase of £2.67bn in approved loans across the three schemes over the past month, to a total of just over £68bn, and with 1,515,280 loans approved,” said Charlotte Crosswell, chief executive of Innovate Finance.
“This highlights the ongoing demand from UK firms for funding, to invest and grow their businesses, and help the UK overcome the recession Covid-19 has prompted.
“Since March, non-bank lenders have played an integral role in financing and providing emergency loans to SMEs to not only help them survive the crisis, but also providing them with the means to thrive.
“With many businesses still shut as a result of Tier 3 measures, we will continue to see many organisations requiring loans to get through the next couple of months, until there has been significant progress in the vaccine roll-out.”