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750,000 firms now on emergency loans, as lenders offer 27 million interest-free overdrafts

Treasury figures released this week show 750,000 businesses have borrowed more than £30bn in government-backed emergency loans, due to the pandemic.

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The stats reveal lenders have approved £31.3bn of loans to over 745,000 businesses through the government’s various loan schemes. In the past week alone, more than £3.8bn in lending has been provided to 94,000 companies, with more application approvals expected in the coming days.


Other statistics released today reveal that the jobs of 8.7 million people are now furloughed, across 1.1 million companies. The value of claims for these employees’ salaries have reached £17.5m.


Business loans
Volumes of emergency loans are largest in the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), for which there have been just over 699,300 approvals for the smallest businesses, though 870,000 companies have applied.


Firms have borrowed more than £21bn so far through the BBLS, which carries the 100 percent government guarantee, and approvals are accelerating – over 91,000 applications were green-lighted in the past week.


Just over 46,800 SMEs have also had applications accepted for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Lenders have approved £8.9bn via this scheme - an increase of over £750m since the data was last published. While 46,800 applications have passed, more than 89,700 applications have been made


Support for consumers
Along with the Treasury figures on business support, UK Finance posted further stats on the astonishing scale of financial support and payment breaks now in place for consumers. Still rising, the figures show that:

  • 1.8 million borrowers are now on mortgage payment holidays;
  • 877,800 people have taken credit card payment holidays;
  • Banks have offered 27 million interest-free overdrafts.


The Treasury also said that more support has been made available for larger and medium-sized businesses through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).


The number of businesses on this financial support has increased by 191 to 579, with these corporates borrowing just over £1.1bn.


Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said that on top of the £31bn offered through these schemes, a further £19bn has been drawn under bank-arranged commercial paper facilities.


He added: “Government-backed loans are not the only support the banking and finance sector has made available. Lenders have put in place a clear plan to support businesses in every region of the country, including through offering extended overdrafts, capital repayment holidays and asset-based finance.”

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