Banks lend £49bn to help SMEs survive coronavirus

Banks have lent £49.4bn to SMEs through the three main government-backed loan schemes, according to Treasury figures released.

Banks have given out £33.7bn through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) up until the week ending 26 July, while the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has now seen banks lend £12.7bn to small and medium-sized companies.

Lenders have given out £3.1bn through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) for bigger companies.

As the UK government gradually reopens the economy after lockdown, it is winding down its support schemes. The job retention scheme is due to end on 31 October. From August, firms will have to pay national insurance and pension contributions for employees. The percentage of the wages the government pays will be gradually reduced and employers required to make up the difference.

The government has now paid £32bn worth of workers’ wages through the job retention scheme (furlough) that is at the heart of the UK’s economic response to coronavirus.

The latest figures show that 1.2m companies had furloughed 9.5m workers by the week ending 26 July. The number has been roughly steady since the start of July, when new additions to the scheme were limited.

In total, the scheme has cost the government £31.7bn, figures from HMRC show.

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