More than 1.5 million Bounce Back loans have been taken out since the coronavirus (COVID-19) support scheme was launched last May, with borrowing by businesses now over £46 billion, according to the Treasury.
The existing loan structure is set to be replaced in April with a new Coronavirus Recovery Loan Scheme, although application details have still not been released. Applications will be open from 6 April, the Treasury has confirmed.
The Recovery Loan Scheme will run until 31 December 2021 and will ensure viable businesses can access government-backed finance throughout 2021 following the disruption caused by the pandemic.
The Treasury's final monthly update on its emergency loan schemes – the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – shows that more than 1.6 million firms benefited from support to keep them trading.
In total, over 98,000 companies borrowed £23.3 billion through the CBILS, while 716 firms borrowed a further £5.3 billion through the CLBILS.
Craig Beaumont, Chief of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: '1.6 million small businesses have now been helped to keep going through an awful year by securing Bounce Back loans. As the unlock takes place, the economic recovery will rely on the successor scheme to fire on all cylinders.'