Newly released Treasury figures show that more than 130,000 firms in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have benefitted from £4.7 billion of funding support through the government’s Bounce Back Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
This includes more than £2.3 billion in loans and support for 65,000 firms in Scotland since the outbreak, £1.4 billion in finance for around 41,000 businesses in Wales, and over £1 billion for more than 25,000 businesses in Northern Ireland.
The figures also show that businesses up and down England have also benefitted from more than £10 billion in business grants, with equivalent funding being made available to the devolved nations through the Barnett formula.
Highlights from the English regions include £1.1 billion in grants made to more than 102,000 properties in Yorkshire and the Humber, 119,000 in grants valuing £1.3 billion made in the South West, and £1.5 billion in business support for 131,000 business properties in the North West.
Loan schemes, grants and business rates holidays have supported businesses across all sectors. But the retail, construction and hospitality sectors, including hotels and restaurants, have benefitted the most.
17% of loans went to the construction sector, and all retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses benefitted from a 100% business rates holiday - demonstrating how government support helped those businesses that were impacted hardest by the pandemic.
Ahead of a visit to Scotland to see the impact of the government support schemes and meet people who have benefitted, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
I recently set out the government’s next steps towards economic recovery and securing the UK’s long-term prosperity in our Plan for Jobs.
As we embark on this next phase, the latest figures demonstrate that we are continuing to support jobs, incomes, and businesses across every corner of the UK.
As well as loan schemes, grants and businesses rates holiday, around a third of employees in every region benefitted from the furlough scheme, in addition to support through the self-employed income support scheme, as the government moved quickly to support businesses across the whole country to protect jobs. This is part of a package of over £50 billion in loans, £11 billion in grants, and 9.5 million people furloughed.
The Chancellor set out his Plan for Jobs last month, which will support jobs with the Job Retention Bonus to help businesses keep furloughed workers, and expand Worksearch Support including a Flexible Support Fund and a £2 billion Kickstart scheme to subsidise jobs for young people
The government is also creating jobs in the construction and housing sectors through funding to decarbonise public sector buildings, and protecting jobs with VAT cuts for hospitality and tourism, as well as the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme. These schemes are union-wide, and support key industries across the whole of the UK.
This comes in addition to the government’s recent announcement that the devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will receive a minimum of £3.6 billion in additional funding this year, on top of the £8.9billion confirmed since March to support the coronavirus recovery.
Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance at UK Finance, said:
Lenders understand that times are tough for businesses up and down the country, but the industry has a clear plan to help them get through this crisis. Whether you’re a sole trader in a rural area or a company with hundreds of employees in a major city, the banking and finance industry stands ready to offer the right support to suit your needs and these figures demonstrate that funding is well distributed throughout the UK.
Businesses should remember that any lending provided under government-backed schemes is a loan not a grant, and so should carefully consider their ability to repay before applying.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
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Our unprecedented package of support has helped firms of all sizes, in all sectors, and in every corner of our United Kingdom.
Today’s data shows just how big an impact our measures have had, providing breathing space for millions of businesses, safeguarding jobs and protecting people’s incomes.
As we bounce back from the pandemic, we will continue to prioritise jobs and skills, while placing the environment at the heart of our recovery.