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New microloans revealed for small firms

Small businesses will be able to access 100% state-sponsored microloans of up to £50,000, or 25% of their turnover, from Monday 4 May 2020.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed the scheme following concerns that access to existing coronavirus rescue schemes was taking too long.

Lenders have been criticised for delays in handing out business interruption loans, blaming a heavy workload and a lack of staff.

UK Finance revealed last week that only 16,624 out of more than 36,000 applications were successful since the scheme launched on 2 April 2020.

That prompted fears many SMEs could go to the wall without the emergency funds arriving imminently.

Sunak said the new microloans could be in a firm's bank account within a day and that no capital or interest repayments will be due for a year.

The scheme will require a two-page, self-certification form to be completed online.

Firms applying for the new microloans will only have to prove they were viable in the past before the crisis.

Sunak said:

"Smaller businesses will be able to get up to £50,000 very easily with a simple, standardised form and have the money within 24 hours.

"It will make an enormous difference to millions of small businesses around the UK.

"It will be much easier for a business to tick the boxes if they're eligible, which the vast majority of them will be."