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One in five West Midlands businesses get virus support

By John Corser | Business | Published: | Last Updated:

Tens of thousands of struggling businesses have relied on loans to help them get through the pandemic, new figures show.

A total of 88,543 firms in the West Midlands, including the Black Country and Staffordshire, have had their applications approved.

Figures from HM Treasury reveal that the banking and finance industry has now provided £3.46 billion to businesses across the region to help them get through the Covid-19 crisis.

Before the pandemic, the average number of loans approved each year to small and medium-sized companies in the region was just under 19,900 over the past five years by the 10 largest banking groups.

As of August 2, the 88,543 firms in the West Midlands that have received the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) or Coronavirus Businesses Interruption Loan Scheme (CBIL) amounts to 18 per cent of all businesses in the region.

In just over two months since the launch, 84,773 businesses in the region have received a Bounce Back Loan, with the total value of support reaching £2.6bn.

Aimed at small and micro businesses, these loans are 100 per cent government-backed and provide finance between £2,000 and £50,000.

Lenders have also provided finance worth £870 million to 3,770 companies in the region through the CBIL scheme.

The support has helped a range of businesses across the West Midlands including The Halfpenny Green Wine Estate at Bobbington, near Wolverhampton, which is a wine producer and retailer with an on-site restaurant and tea room, secured a funding package from Lloyds Bank helping it to continue operating despite the closure of its customer-facing premises, and allowing it to meet a surge in demand for its wines.

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Home Farm Attingham is a family-run dairy farm in Atcham, near Shrewsbury. The business received a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan from Barclays to cover expenditure in preparation for winter operations and to keep the enterprise running through the lockdown period, meaning that it was able to mitigate the impact of losing a significant amount of tourism traffic through its tearooms.

Stephen Pegge, managing director of commercial finance at UK Finance, said: "Lenders understand that times are tough for businesses in the West Midlands, but the finance industry has a clear plan to help them get through this crisis.

"£3.46 billion has been approved to over 88,500 businesses across the region through government-backed lending schemes, providing a life-line for many businesses hit by the economic shock created by Covid-19.

"Whether you’re a sole trader or a company with hundreds of employees, the banking and finance industry stands ready to offer the right support to suit your needs.

“Businesses should remember that any lending provided under government-backed schemes is a loan not a grant, and so should carefully consider their ability to repay before applying.”

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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