Chancellor extends coronavirus loan scheme to bigger firms

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been extended to include businesses with turnover greater than £500m.

The £330bn package now allows all firms with a turnover of greater than £45m to apply for loans of up to £25m.

Initially, businesses with a turnover of more than £500m were excluded from the scheme however the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said he wishes to “ensure that no viable business slips through our safety net of support as we help protect jobs and the economy. That is why we are expanding this generous scheme for larger firms”.

He added: “This is a national effort and we’ll continue to work with the financial services sector to ensure that our £330bn of government support, through loans and guarantees, reaches as many businesses in need as possible.”

The news comes a day after the government announced an extension to the coronavirus lockdown for “at least” a further three weeks.

The decision was announced at yesterday’s (16 April) press briefing which was led by foreign secretary Dominic Raab. It also comes after Raab led an emergency Cobra committee and cabinet meetings about the continuation of social distancing measures earlier this morning.

During the briefing, Rabb said any change to the UK’s social distancing measures now would risk a “significant increase in the spread of the virus”, that would threaten a second peak of the virus and substantially increase the number of deaths. “It would undo the progress we have made to date,” he added.

He continued: “Early relaxation would do more damage to the economy over the longer period. I want to be really clear about this, the advice from Sage is that relaxing any of the measures currently in place would do more damage to both public health and our economy.

“Based on this advice, which we have very carefully considered, the government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for the next three weeks.”

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