Coronavirus: Farce as just 1% of British firms secure government-backed crisis loans

Only a small fraction of British businesses have been able to get hold of emergency loans to keep ticking over despite promises that money would start flowing quickly.

Just 1 per cent of firms in the UK have successfully accessed the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CIBLS), a survey has found. 

The results, from a British Chamber of Commerce poll, found that 8 per cent of the companies that responded had been unsuccessful in their applications.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured at Downing Street in London today) announced the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme last month

Firms said that a complex application process and slow replies had held them back over the scheme, which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month.

Businesses have been given access to the government-backed loans to help them through the coronavirus crisis. Smaller firms can apply for grants of up to £25,000.

According to the survey, 7 per cent of respondents are receiving grants. But 14 per cent had been unsuccessful in trying to get grants.

Most of these, 83 per cent, said they had not met the criteria, 14 per cent said that the response from authorities was too slow, or did not come at all.

British Chamber of Commerce director general Dr Adam Marshall (pictured in 2017) said the organisation’s latest data ‘shows that many businesses face a cliff-edge scenario’

The proportion of firms planning to put all their staff on the government’s furlough scheme – which guarantees 80 per cent of their salaries – has risen to 20 per cent, from 17 per cent in the first survey that the BCC did.

** Have you failed to get an emergency coronavirus business loan from the Government? Email ** 

A total of 37 per cent of respondents said they plan to furlough between 75 per cent and 100% of their workforce in the coming week.

‘Our latest data shows that many businesses face a cliff-edge scenario, either at the end of this month or over the course of the next quarter,’ said BCC director general Dr Adam Marshall.

‘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. 

‘Yet our research suggests that support is only starting to reach firms on the ground.’

Six per cent of more than 1,000 respondents to the survey, which was performed last week said they have already run out of cash.

Meanwhile 57 per cent of companies said they have cash to last three months or less.

Most of the respondents, 77 per cent, are in the service sector, with 23 per cent in the manufacturing sector. Just under half are small businesses with between one and nine employees.

Separately, it emerged last night that just 2,022 loans have been made to the UK’s small and medium-sized business through the business lending scheme.

Just 0.65 per cent of enquiries have resulted in the loans out of 300,000 applications so far, according to figures compiled by industry body UK Finance.

Some £291.9million had been lent through the scheme as of yesterday, according to City AM.

** Have you failed to get an emergency coronavirus business loan from the Government? Email ** 

Council tells pub landlord trying to get grant to send in three months of unredacted bank statements despite data protection concerns

A pub landlord trying to get hold of a Government grant to keep his business afloat was told to send in three months of unredacted bank statements.

Kyle Michael, owner of The White Swan pub in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, said this would be against guidance from his bank on data protection.

The 49-year-old protested to Buckinghamshire County Council, but an officer told him: ‘If the bank statement is not received, the grant will not be issued.’

Kyle Michael, 49, is the owner of The White Swan pub in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

He told MailOnline: ‘We made the application online as is required, filled out all the information required including company number registration etc.

‘We then received an email back from the council to say that they will only make payments direct into bank accounts, that they required three months backdated bank statements showing all transactions.

‘I understand that they would need to check sort code bank details etc, but they should not have access to daily transactions for a business, nor is it under the Government guidelines to do so. 

‘I challenged Buckinghamshire Council and they came back saying ‘send us the payments, or you don’t get the money’.

The White Swan in Aylesbury is losing £5,000 in revenue each week while it is closed

‘I’ve had to send them, but my concern is that this is unnecessary collection of information and it should be destroyed immediately.

‘I’ve spoken to other businesses who have had the same situation. More importantly we’re being asked to send it via email, which is insecure.’

Mr Michaels continued: ‘We have zero income from the pubs being closed. Of course we abided by the Government advice immediately and closed.’

He said they have applied for job retention scheme but are having to wait for those payments, which are likely to be paid in three weekly arrears – and they are expecting more information on this over the next fortnight.

A Buckinghamshire County Council officer told Mr Michael in an email yesterday (above) that he needed to send over his bank statements or ‘the grant will not be issued’

Mr Michaels had emailed the council to ask why he needed to send the bank statements

Mr Michaels has been the landlord of the pub for five years, but has been in the pub industry for 32 years.

He said the pub’s weekly turnover is about £5,000 – so every week they are losing that amount.

He added that the £10,000 payment they are going to receive from the grant will only keep the business going for two weeks, and they will be claiming on the 80 per cent wages scheme for five staff.

Government guidance states that business owners need to send in management accounts, cash flow forecast, business plan, historic accounts and details of assets – but does not mention bank statements. 

Buckinghamshire Council has been contacted for comment by MailOnline. 

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