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East Midlands Chamber News

Businesses struggle to access coronavirus loan support

A new national poll has found that only a fraction of businesses have been able to access the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and small business grants.

The findings of the British Chambers of Commerce’s latest coronavirus business impact tracker showed that since the emergency funding schemes were launched in March, just one per cent of firms had successfully accessed CBILS and just seven per cent are receiving grants.

The weekly tracker poll, which serves as a barometer of pandemic’s impact on businesses and the effectiveness of Government support measures, received more than 1,000 responses this week. It is the largest independent survey of its kind in the UK.

It found that while 59% of respondents knew details about CBILS and 19% planned to use it, awareness is not translating into firms successfully accessing the schemes.

The complexity of the application process and a slow or lack of response from the relevant bodies were cited as reasons for those who were unsuccessful.

Commenting on the results, Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said:

“These figures highlight a gap between businesses’ awareness of these schemes and their success in accessing funding from them, which is concerning.

“Announcements made on Friday to improve access to the schemes were welcome and should hopefully lead to success rates increasing soon, with more firms getting access to the emergency funding they need to ease their cash flows.

“However, this could mean the difference between survival and insolvency for many firms, so it’s vital that more of the funding that’s been made available can quickly reach the businesses on the frontline which need it most so they can continue to trade, to protect jobs and the economy.”