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Bira welcomes Government pledge to pressure banks into making Covid-19 cash accessible

The Government’s pledge to pressure the banks to ease up lending to small businesses has been welcomed by Bira. 

Last night (April 1), Business Secretary Alok Sharma called on high street lenders to ease access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) for small independent retailers during the crisis.

His intervention comes following reports from some businesses – including many Bira members – that their banks were making it increasingly difficult to access the recently created loan scheme.

Earlier this week, an exclusive Bira members’ survey revealed that of those who’d applied for the CBILS, only 1% had so far been successful, while many were still waiting for a response.

Mr Sharma has also urged local authorities to speed up the availability of grant money for small businesses.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “We were shocked and disappointed that so few of our members had been able to access the money available to them when they are so desperately in need.

“We called on the Government to take action and in Business Secretary’s statement, it shows they are listening to Bira.

“We will continue to lobby the Government, the banks and the local authorities to make pledged cash quickly and easily available for our members and the wider independent retail community.”

For all the latest updates, visit Bira’s Coronavirus hub
Coronavirus hub