Warwickshire County Council has approved the loan of £1million to support small businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.
The government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available for companies to apply for a loan from approved lenders.
Among the approved lenders, which include all major banks, is the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT), a not-for-profit, FCA accredited finance provider. The trust supports businesses and individuals primarily based in Coventry and Warwickshire, both those looking to start up or existing businesses who need finances to grow.
However, the current pandemic and resultant temporary closure of many businesses means that demand is expected to exceed available lending, with additional financial backing now needed to help the scheme.
Warwickshire County Council has approved a loan of £1m to the CWRT to enable it to support businesses who are having cash flow problems due to the pandemic crisis. The scheme is backed by a partial guarantee from the government, but borrowers remain liable for 100% of the debt. It is expected that Warwickshire County Council’s £1m loan will enable CWRT to fill in some of the gaps in mainstream lending from banks, supporting small businesses to get through the crisis and safeguarding jobs.
Mark Ryder Strategic Director for Communities at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Small businesses, and the employment opportunities that they offer locally, will play a key role in the economic recovery when we can return to more normal times; we trust that loans from the CWRT will help them to stay solvent through these difficult circumstances. We are very pleased to bolster its working capital so that it can provide financial assistance to businesses where it is most needed.”
Sheridan Sulskis, Executive Director of the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust, said: “People and businesses are at the heart of everything we do at CWRT. This increase in funding will assist CWRT in delivering responsible, affordable lending to those who would otherwise struggle to obtain funding from mainstream lenders. We are delighted to be working with Warwickshire County Council to support businesses in Warwickshire with accessing finance to survive through this pandemic.”
Louise Bennett, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is very welcome news. Every survey undertaken by the British Chambers of Commerce since the Coronavirus outbreak has found that cashflow is the number one issue for firms.
“Anything that can get more cash out to businesses quickly will mean more firms are able to survive this crisis and I have always found CWRT responsive, supportive and empathetic with local businesses seeking support at this time and I have brokered many businesses on to them for finance.”
Rich Bishop, Federation of Small Business, West Midlands Regional Chair said “With small firms making up 97% of private sector businesses across Warwickshire and Coventry this pro-active approach from Warwickshire County Council and CWRT is to be welcomed at this time. We understand from our members that there are lots of issues being encountered in accessing CBILS loans, which is especially frustrating for those businesses that sit outside of other Government support measures. This support through CWRT can help to provide a vital lifeline for small firms that have been unable to get support elsewhere”
Further details of the CBIL scheme are available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme