BCC responds to UK Finance update

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The banking and finance sector has provided more than £2.8 billion of lending to SMEs so far through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), as part of a broad package of support for UK businesses, according to the latest numbers published by UK Finance.

Lenders have received over 36,000 completed applications so far, with 16,624 of these applications approved.

Commenting on the update, the Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The increase in companies accessing CBILS is encouraging progress. However, the number of applications processed and approved will need to be increased significantly in what is a crunch week for firms urgently trying to access financial support.

“Our Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker tells us that a concerningly high number of businesses are still finding accessing the scheme too complex and too lengthy. The government and financial institutions must continue to work together to identify practical steps to improve the workings of the CBILS scheme to ensure that cash gets to the frontline as quickly as possible.”