Small and micro businesses in East Lancashire can apply for 100% guaranteed loans

Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 are to be made available to micro and small businesses affected by Covid-19.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the measures yesterday, in a move welcomed by the Lancashire Economic Partnership.

Chairman Steve Fogg said: "I am delighted the Government has listened to businesses and extended the existing loan scheme to offer a 100% loan guarantee of up to £50,000 for smaller businesses.

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''Intelligence obtained by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has shown that the existing loan scheme simply was not working for many small businesses which have been struggling to access the loans available.

The government is offering loans to small and micro businesses

"The new microloan scheme is an attempt to mitigate a lot of the bureaucracy associated with the previous scheme and enable smaller businesses to access a much needed cash injection for their companies.''

Micro and small businesses account for over 90% of the Lancashire economy and it is vital for them to be able to access loans quickly and easily to stay afloat and be in a stronger position for a speedier recovery once we begin to return to some sort of normality as the restrictions are eased.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson also backed the scheme adding: "I’m pleased that the Government has put this scheme in to place which will help small businesses.

“Small businesses are vital in ensuring our communities thrive and will be crucial in creating jobs and securing economic growth as we recover.”

The government, which has been consulting extensively with business representatives about the design of the new scheme, will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days- providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

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Sarah Kemp, chief executive of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership added, ''Every day we are hearing of examples whereby Lancashire businesses have adapted during this crisis which is testament to the ability of our businesses to innovate. This is fantastic.

"Unfortunately we are also hearing of businesses which have experienced extreme pressures as a result of cash flow problems, many of which are attributable to supply chain issues. The microloan scheme should hopefully alleviate some of these immediate difficulties and improve their resilience and prospects of survival during these very challenging times.''

Up to date information on this and other support packages can be found via the LEP website at www.lancashirelep.co.uk/Covid-19