The APSCo is calling on the government to intervene further to ensure that businesses are able to access much-needed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.
The APSCo survey of its own members, which questioned over 100 SME recruitment firms, found that only 7% had successfully applied and received a loan. Almost a third (31%) had spoken to their lender and had still found the criteria prohibitive.
One respondent said: “We were told that we did not pass eligibility for the CBIL even though we have grown over 30% year on year in all areas including turnover/gross profit and client base. We invested back in the business for growth and infrastructure and were told that we did not retain enough cash in the business – we have been with our bank for five years – no overdraft, no loans – this is a complete farce.”
Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, commented, “This example is typical of some of the problems that our members are reporting.
“The whole point of this loan is to – and I quote from The British Business Bank website – ‘support UK businesses that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.’ The website also states that businesses must ‘have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic’. The banks need clear and unambiguous lending criteria to be issued from Government otherwise hundreds – if not thousands of SMEs are going to go under.”