Shrewsbury Business Chamber has been pressing for clarification on a range of issues that have occurred as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. In rapidly changing circumstances, the latest problem that has arisen is the difficulty in seeking funding from the Government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS).
This was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak earlier this month was part of a series of measures designed to protect businesses during the Coronavirus crisis. Government gave assurances that they would repay 80% of any losses in the event businesses defaulted on payments on loans between £25,000 and £5m.
It has come to light that some banks are insisting on personal guarantees before they issue government backed loans to businesses. By putting owners’ personal assets ‘on the line, some High Street Banks are shifting the risk from the bank and the Government on to the business owners themselves. The amount of detail needed from applicants is also off putting.
Charles Howells, Consultant of local Shrewsbury business Cooper Green Pooks and a member of the Business Chamber Executive said. “We are in such unprecedented times for businesses with huge uncertainties around keeping afloat, looking after their staff and having the necessary cashflow to ride the tide of this crisis. Government and Banks should be making it as simple as possible to access emergency funding.’’
On behalf of its members the Business Chamber has raised this issue with Daniel Kawczynski MP, Shropshire Council, the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the British Business Bank who is overseeing the scheme nationally. We have also reported these difficulties to the Bank of England Regional Office in Birmingham.
The Business Chamber is heartened to hear that Government is to shortly announce measures to provide some financial help for the self-employed. Shrewsbury has a large number of self-employed people and protecting their livelihoods is crucial.
Last week the Chancellor set out plans for 80% wage subsidies for staff kept on by employers up to £2,500 a month in a bid to protect the economy and prevent businesses from laying off their workers.
More detail concerning when the business grants announced as part of ‘immediate relief’ will actually be paid is still waited and the Shrewsbury Business Chamber is pressing for this also.