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The Highland Times

News From and Around The Highlands of Scotland

Chancellor Pressed to Back Plans to Protect Small Businesses From Going Under


The SNP has pressed the Chancellor to urgently step in to ensure SMEs have access to desperately needed finance now to protect them from going out of business.

The renewed calls comes after reports today that Rishi Sunak is set to revisit the UK government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and look to remove the requirement for banks to first assess whether SMEs are eligible for other lending options.

However, SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP (pictured) warned that the proposed move “does not go far enough” to safeguard SMEs who are struggling to stay afloat now and who face delays and barriers in accessing the UK government’s schemes.

Research published yesterday revealed that a fifth of small and medium-sized UK businesses are unlikely to get the cash they need to survive the next four weeks due to those restrictions.

Commenting, SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said:

“Any changes to the UK government’s interruption loan scheme to help SMEs is to be welcomed, however the proposed U-turn does not go far enough to address the serious concerns raised by small and medium businesses.

“It is critical that businesses across the UK can access the finance and support they need now to pay their costs to protect them from going over the brink and into hardship.

“The SNP has been repeatedly calling for measures to effectively support small and medium businesses across the UK who, through no fault of their own, are in an extremely challenging environment – including plans to look at more grants as well as loans, to reflect the fact that businesses are losing income, not just seeing it deferred.

“If the UK government is to protect businesses who are vital for our economy and who employ thousands of staff, then it must set out measures that delivers financial relief and support now.”

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