Just 2,000 UK SMEs given coronavirus loans, while almost a third of Northern businesses are ‘facing collapse’

Despite promises made by the Government, new figures from UK Finance show that just 2,022 loans have been made to UK SMEs through the government’s coronavirus business lending scheme, with less than one per cent of enquiries resulting in loans. The figures highlight the challenges faced by many of the UK’s 6 million SMEs in terms of accessing funding during this difficult period.

Meanwhile, research from Durham University Business school reveals that almost a third of businesses in the Midlands and North of England are facing collapse as the lockdown continues to bite.

William Garvey, Managing Director at the UK’s leading innovation funding consultancy, Leyton UK, said:

“The Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme is pointless if businesses cannot actually get hold of the funds quickly. Rapid access to loans is a matter of survival for SMEs right now up and down the country. Businesses need cash in a matter of days, not weeks. The Government must reduce bottlenecks and accelerate the processing of loan applications or else many SMEs will collapse, putting vast numbers of jobs at risk and causing huge damage to the UK economy.”

“Businesses must explore every avenue for funding during this period. While there are bottlenecks for government loan schemes, HMRC are continuing to process claims for R&D tax credits at normal speeds. This can be a good line of relief for businesses to pursue if they are eligible and businesses may be able to claim thousands of pounds at a time when cashflow has never been more crucial.”