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Written Statements

Volume 676: debated on Monday 11 May 2020

Written Statements

Monday 11 May 2020

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Bounce-back Loans Scheme

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of hon. and right hon. Members to bring to their attention the details of the new bounce-back loans scheme (BBLS).

The bounce-back loans scheme was launched on 4 May, and is facilitated by the Government owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders offer term loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 to support small businesses that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme is available on a temporary basis for an initial period of six months and can be extended as required. The key parameters of the scheme are as follows:

BBLS will provide term loans only for a term of six years, with businesses able to access loans equivalent to 25 per cent of their turnover from £2,000 up to a maximum loan size of £50,000. The interest rate will be standardised across all lenders and fixed at 2.5 per cent. There will be no fees for borrowers to access the scheme.

The percentage of net (post-recovery) losses for each loan that is guaranteed by the Government will be 100 per cent, with no cap on gross Government liability at the level of the lender’s whole BBLS portfolio. Personal guarantees are not permitted, although some personal assets could be claimed as part of recovery from sole traders. Sole traders’ principal private residence and vehicle may never be claimed as part of recovery.

A Government grant, “the business interruption payment”, will be provided for the benefit of businesses, equal to the interest incurred on the facility for the first twelve months. Businesses will not be required to make any repayments on capital during the first twelve months of the facility.

The Government will be subject to a new contingent liability as a result of the bounce back loans scheme, and I will be laying a Departmental minute today containing a description of the liability undertaken.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

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Businesses: Safe Working Guidance

The Government today published new guidance to help UK employers get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.

The new guidance covers eight workplace settings from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways and sets out practical steps for businesses.

The Government have consulted approximately 250 stake- holders in preparing the guidance. It has been developed with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to develop best practice on the safest ways of working across the economy, providing people with the confidence they need to return to work.

The guidance applies to businesses currently open. This also includes guidance for shops which we believe may be in a position to begin a phased re-opening at the earliest from the 1 June. Guidance for other sectors that are not currently open will be developed and published ahead of those establishments opening to give those businesses time to plan. The Government will also shortly set up taskforces to work with these sectors to develop safe ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so, as well as pilot re-openings to test businesses’ ability to adopt the guidelines.

As part of today’s announcement, the Government have made available up to an extra £14 million for the HSE, equivalent to an increase of 10% of their budget, for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment if needed.

The guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

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