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If you feel the impact of COVID-19 will cause your business to struggle financially, it is a good idea to speak to your bank about the options you have as soon as possible. Our advice is that prevention is better than cure and that you are in a better position knowing the options you have available. 

Most banks now have online banking facilities, so it is best to reach out to your bank through online banking or telephone banking. Some UK banks’ branches have closed due to the circumstances, however, if you need to go to your branch, take the necessary precautions as advised by the Government.  

The UK Government and The Bank of England have made billions of pounds available so that banks across the UK can help small businesses that have been affected adversely by COVID-19. More information about the ‘Coronavirus emergency fund’ can be found here. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) 

The launch of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been brought forward. 

At the Budget on March 11, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that the scheme would be available ‘over the coming weeks’This has now been brought forward and the launch is expected in week commencing March 23 2020. 

As well as loans, there are many other types of finance supported by the programme, depending on the provider. Bira has been urging the Government to make desperately-needed support for small independent retailers available more quickly. 

This page will be updated when the scheme has been launched to give further details.  

What are banks providing to help small businesses?

All banks are dealing with the situation differently and it is best to contact your bank to find out what facilities they can provide. Some banks are considering new overdraft facilities and leniency on the time frame of loan repayments to soften the blow. Interest rates have been cut by the Bank of England to assist with the crisis and will hopefully improve the rate at which businesses recover. As of 20/03/20, the Bank of England has cut interest rates again to 0.1% in an emergency move to support the UK economy.  

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