Bounce back loans worth £31.7bn paid out to small businesses

Holly Williams, PA deputy city editor

BOUNCE Back Loans worth £31.7 billion have now been approved for small businesses amid the coronavirus crisis, the UK Government has said.

New figures from the Treasury show that 1.05 million of the payments have been given the go-ahead.

The data also shows that 54,538 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILs) have been approved, providing £11.85bn worth of funding since the scheme was launched on March 23.

Meanwhile, 412 Large Business Interruption Loans, worth £2.73bn, have been endorsed.

The UK Treasury added that 9.4 million jobs have been furloughed - unchanged from last week - as firms claimed £28.7bn to keep workers in employment.

The update comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak's summer statement last week saw him unveil a Job Retention Bonus scheme, which will give £1,000 to firms for each furloughed employee they bring back to work.

The payment will be given to companies if they keep the employee in work until January, and pay them at least £520 per month, on average.

Mr Sunak's Plan for Jobs was unveiled amid mounting fears of mass unemployment when the furlough scheme comes to an end in October.

At least 150,000 jobs have already been cut or put at risk at more than 60 major British employers during lockdown, according to recent analysis by the PA news agency.

Overall, around 75,000 job losses were announced last month alone.

Despite strong pick-up of the Bounce Back Loans and CBILs, there are also fears that many businesses have fallen through the gaps.

There was disappointment that Mr Sunak last week failed to offer any extension of the current emergency loans support for sole traders and self-employed.

The number of UK businesses and sole traders not able to qualify for Government support stands at around three million, such as the newly self-employed, self-employed who earn more than £50,000, and directors paid in dividends.

Last week, a fintech-led group launched a new emergency coronavirus loans scheme to help some of the freelancers and self-employed workers who have missed out on Government support.

The Small Business Interruption Loan Service (SBILS) was unveiled, with the backing of MPs and in association with ExcludedUK, offering a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform for the self-employed and SMEs.

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