Firms struggling to access emergency coronavirus loans

UK businesses are struggling to access emergency loans provided by the government's coronavirus (COVID-19) business interruption loan schemes, according to a survey conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC's weekly tracker poll, which shows the pandemic's impact on businesses, surveyed over 1,000 firms. Just 1% of companies surveyed by the BCC had managed to access Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, while 8% had applied unsuccessfully.

Businesses that failed to access funds through the scheme cited the complexity of the application process, insufficient guidance and slow responses. Businesses applying for small business grants also reported problems, with eight out of every ten firms not meeting the criteria, and others reporting insufficient information available.

The BCC survey also found that 6% of businesses had already run out of cash, while 16% had less than a month's worth of cash in reserve and 41% had only one to three months' cash in reserve.

Commenting on the results, Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: 'Many businesses face a cliff-edge scenario, either at the end of this month or over the course of the next quarter.

'We've seen a big jump in the number of firms furloughing staff, and many are now starting to apply for access to government loan and grant schemes to keep themselves afloat. Our research suggests that support is only starting to reach firms on the ground.'

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