Two-thirds of SMEs believe Government coronavirus loans won’t reach them in time

By Oliver Smith on Wednesday 25 March 2020

Alternative Lending

Millions of businesses will run out of cash by Easter.

Two-thirds of SMEs believe Government coronavirus loans won’t reach them in time
Image source: Anil Stocker/MarketFinance.

More than two-thirds of small businesses believe that support from the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) won’t reach them in time.

Some 67 per cent of 5,000 SMEs surveyed by invoice lender MarketFinance said in that case they expect to run out of cash by Easter (12 April).

The stark figures add weight to the growing criticism around CBILS, which was only announced 14 days ago but has become one of the government’s flagship projects to save the economy.

“The number of businesses that believe they won’t make it to Easter has doubled from a third to two thirds despite the Treasury’s announcements,” said MarketFinance CEO Anil Stocker.

“Time is of the essence. It is imperative that businesses are made aware of how to access the measures they have announced but also to widen the range of finance options available to them.”

Most businesses surveyed by MarketFinance reported already having existing loans, adding to their concern that additional borrowing would leave them in an even deeper hole.

“It’s important to realise that in the fine print, many banks will ask for additional security and Personal Guarantees for loan amounts greater than £250,000 of borrowings,” said Stocker.

While the British Business Bank, which is administering the scheme, has made moves this week to open up the pool of lenders with new applications, CBILS is still restricted from accepting peer-to-peer lenders into the mix—drawing criticism from the sector.

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