Coronavirus cost hits £90BILLION: Huge price of crisis unveiled with £50bn in loans | UK | News
New figures released by the Treasury yesterday showed that more than £50 billion has been handed to businesses in loans. These include almost 1.4 million ‘bounceback’ capital injections at a cost of £34 billion. Figures also showed that nearly 120,000 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans have now been approved, providing £13 billion worth of funding.
The data revealed that 887 applications worth more than £3.2 billion have now been approved for larger firms using the Government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).
A total of 537 convertible loans have been awarded through the Future Fund, totalling 4 million.
Meanwhile, 9.6 million jobs have been furloughed as firms have claimed £33.8 billion to keep workers in employment.
Some 2.7million self-employed have claimed grants worth £7.8 billion.
Responding to the updates, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry said: “Nine in 10 people who moved from unemployment back into the workplace after the financial crash did so through a small business or self-employment.
“Many were striking out on their own for the first time, so support for new businesses over the months ahead – especially through the Start-up Loans Programme and New Enterprise Allowance – will be integral to recovery.
“Small firms and their staff need to be confident that the infrastructure is there to tackle this virus. We were promised a world-beating Test and Trace system, and such a system is integral to getting businesses firing on all cylinders again.
“While most have benefited from direct government support, many have not. Thousands of directors and newly self-employed people have been left with no help for months now. As we look to the autumn, the Government needs to think carefully about how it will help those who have been left behind.
“Bounce Back Loans have provided critical cash injections for huge swathes of the small business community. Firms now need a guarantee that they won’t have to start making repayments until they’re making a profit. Such a pledge would give them the confidence to invest, recruit and expand today rather than hoard cash for fear of what’s coming down the line.”
As furlough unwinds and comes to an end in October, experts are worried that the scheme could be masking a big drop in employment that is yet to come.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised that companies who bring back staff from furlough will get £1,000 per head from the Treasury if they keep the employee on their books until the end of January at the latest.
Regardless, unemployment is bound to spike, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasting that up to 14.8 percent of the workforce could be unemployed if a second wave of Covid-19 hits Britain.
The latest data release came the day after many Britons were meant to return to their workplaces after official guidance was altered to dissuade people from working from home.
But many offices, factories and other workplaces have remained closed.
Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said almost a fifth of workers – an estimated six million people – remained on furlough despite Government attempts to bring the economy back to life.
It said roughly one in three furloughed workers in Britain returned to their jobs in the first two weeks of July as the hospitality industry began to reopen to the public after a coronavirus lockdown.
The number of Whitehall civil servants returning to the office has plummeted further despite pleas from Boris Johnson.
The largest drop was at the 800,000-square-foot Home Office headquarters where only 94 staff arrived – 50 fewer than last Wednesday.
Meanwhile only one percent of the Department for Education’s London workforce were observed entering its seven-floor offices, which held up to 2,000 staff before lockdown. The two dozen seen arriving on Monday was down from 34 last Thursday.
Offices are understood to be running at a reduced capacity of 30 percent.