The Government’s Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) has been extended until 30 June 2022 – but there are big changes to who can apply and how much money businesses can borrow.

The six-month extension to the scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Autumn Budget and Spending Review on 27 October.

The RLS was launched on 6 April 2021 to provide financial support to businesses across the UK to help them recover and grow following the coronavirus pandemic.

Initially, the scheme was to run until the end of the year to support businesses of all sizes. Currently, businesses that meet the eligibility criteria can apply to access up to £10m in loans, overdrafts, or invoice or asset finance from participating banks. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender.

The scheme will now run for another six months – but with new guidance. These are the main changes to the RLS which come into force for applications made from 1 January 2022:

  • The scheme will only be open to small and medium sized enterprises; larger businesses will no longer be eligible
  • The maximum amount of finance available is cut from £10m per business to £2 million per business
  • The government guarantee coverage for lenders is reduced from 80% to 70%

Eligible businesses can apply via the British Business Bank, which has a list of participating accredited lenders. The government stresses that as the borrower, the business is always 100% liable for the debt.

The extension follows the recent announcement by the British Business Bank that the Recovery Loan Scheme had passed a major milestone, with over £1bn being offered by 76 accredited lenders to smaller UK businesses.

CEO at British Business Bank, Catherine Lewis La Torre, said: “In meeting the £1 billion milestone, the Recovery Loan Scheme is demonstrating its impact by helping thousands of companies to fund their further development.”

She added: “A six-month extension to the Recovery Loan Scheme will also provide valuable support for smaller businesses as they look beyond the pandemic towards the opportunities available to them in the recovery.”

LINKS:

Recovery Loan Scheme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recovery-loan-scheme

British Business Bank: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ 
British Business Bank – RLS page: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/recovery-loan-scheme/