National Farmers Union (NFU) deputy president, Stuart Roberts, has welcomed the arrival of the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme but says it must do more to help farmers and smaller food businesses.
The scheme was set up by the Government in response to the current crisis and helps small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus to access finance of up to £5 million.
The Government says it will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan and the scheme also allows small and medium sized enterprises to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years.
It also says it will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This means smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
“Increasing the loan guarantee to 100% and extending the repayment period would make this critical assistance a better fit for farm businesses who find the current scheme impractical and unaffordable.”
NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “The Government’s Covid-19 financial support package is already providing vital assistance for distressed businesses and its workers. However, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme is unsuited to many affected farm businesses.
“The NFU has discussed these concerns with the CBI and other business groups and supports the further reforms now suggested by the CBI. Increasing the loan guarantee to 100% and extending the repayment period would make this critical assistance a better fit for farm businesses who find the current scheme impractical and unaffordable.”