Covid-19: Business Interruption Loans

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Excerpts
Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
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The noble Lord makes a very good point. As I have said, we have already introduced a number of technical changes to the scheme—obviously it was introduced very rapidly. We are keeping all aspects of it under review. The one that he has mentioned is important; we are looking at bringing in new lenders as soon as possible, including Funding Circle, which specialises in smaller loans for companies such as those he talks about. To answer his question: yes, we are keeping this under review, we are seeking to get new lenders accredited as quickly as possible, and we are keeping all other aspects of the scheme under review as well.

Baroness Morgan of Cotes Portrait Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Con)
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My Lords, no one can doubt the Government’s commitment to bridging and helping SMEs bridge these particular unprecedented circumstances but, to follow on from the question from the noble Lord, Lord Fox, what are the Government doing to work closely with the British Business Bank and encourage it to dramatically widen the circle of lenders and, in particular, to embrace the UK’s fintech sector, which can offer so much in these circumstances?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan
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My noble friend makes a very good point. As I said in response to an earlier question, we are looking to expand the pool of lenders as quickly as possible and at Funding Circle. We are working closely with the British Business Bank to make sure that all aspects of the SME market are serviced. The BBB has put in place substantial additional resource to assist with processing applications from new lenders as quickly as possible. On 11 April four new lenders were accredited, and we are looking to get the circle expanded as quickly as possible.