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More than £400 million in loans were issued to businesses across the Highlands and Islands by the British Business Bank to keep afloat during the Covid pandemic

By Scott Maclennan

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The British Business Bank has revealed that the staggering levels of government support to businesses in the Highlands and Islands during the pandemic has totalled more than £400 million.

There were two main schemes to assist businesses with survival – the Bounce Back Loan Scheme was capped at £50,000 of lending and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which went up to £5 million.

In all 10,223 Bounce Back Loans were issued for the Highlands and Islands totalling more than £274 million while the 658 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans saw more than £126 million paid out.

The lending was issued through the British Business Bank – the UK government-owned economic development bank established aimed at helping increasing credit to small and medium enterprises.

According to the final lending figures by the British Business Bank, Scotland-wide almost 100,000 businesses benefited from over £4 billion of funding under the two biggest Coronavirus loan schemes.

Almost 94,000 loans worth over £2.7 billion have been provided across Scotland under the bounce back scheme providing a six-year term loan from £2,000 up to 25 per cent of a business’ turnover, with a limit of £50,000.

Over 5,900 loans worth over £1.4 billion have been provided across Scotland under business interruption loan scheme, which provided loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million to businesses with a turnover less than £45 million.

The total funding from the two loan schemes provided to almost 100,000 businesses represents six per cent of the UK total which is in line with the relative size of Scotland’s business population.

Mark Sterritt, UK Network Director, Scotland at British Business Bank said: “The Covid-19 loan schemes have been an important part of the government’s response to the pandemic, providing businesses with much-needed breathing space and reducing cash-flow concerns for many.

“We’re pleased to see evidence that they have helped smaller businesses right across Scotland and look forward to helping more businesses to prosper and grow as we look towards economic recovery.”

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