COVID-19: NI businesses benefit from over £1.3bn in financial support

22 October 2020

Author: Rachel Lewis
Practice Area: Banking & Finance, COVID-19

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According to recent figures published by the British Business Bank, businesses across Northern Ireland have now received over £1.3bn in financial support under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

In particular, more than 33,000 loans worth over £1bn have been offered under the BBLS and over 1,000 loans worth over £333m have been offered under the CBILS. The loans have been made to business across all sectors, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, the retail and construction sectors have received the highest proportion of the loans.

The BBLS and the CBILS remain open for applications and, as of 24 September, both schemes have been extended to 30 November 2020, so it is not too late for businesses to benefit from the support offered.

However, the banking industry is now faced with concerns about the likelihood of these loans being paid back. According to The Times, UK Finance (the trade body for the banking industry) is currently conducting a feasibility study on the creation of a new debt collection agency to manage the collection of overdue Government-backed loans. It is hoped that this would reduce pressure on the capacity of banks to collect debt and that it could also lead to borrowers being treated more consistently.

This is therefore an important reminder that businesses should carefully consider their ability to repay before applying for funding under any of the Government-backed loan schemes.

If you have any queries in relation to a BBLS or CBILS facility or any of the other financial support options available to businesses at this time, please feel free to contact a member of the Banking team.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

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