Suffolk firms received £665million of government loans during pandemic

Chancellor Rishi Sunak outside 11 Downing Street

Firms in Suffolk received 5,491 government-backed loans worth £665.2million. - Credit: PA

Suffolk business have been kept afloat by two-thirds of a billion pounds worth of government backed loans throughout the pandemic.

According to the final data which was released by the Treasury today, firms in the county received 15,491 loans worth £665.2million.

Over the border in Norfolk 18,203 loans worth £774.2million were handed out.

Chris Starkie, chief executive officer of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “There is no doubt that government-backed loans, as with the furlough scheme, have enabled many of our businesses to get through the pandemic and the level of take-up in both Norfolk and Suffolk tells its own story.

"As well as helping some simply survive, this money has also supported companies in their efforts to respond to changes in customer demand prompted by Covid-19.

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“However, these are loans as opposed to grants and while we may not have not seen the number of insolvencies we might have expected, we know businesses in some of our key sectors remain under enormous pressure.

"The coming weeks will give us a more accurate picture of the impact of Covid as the furlough scheme is phased out before the end of September."

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Nationally, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme provided £47.36billion to 1.56 million firms. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provided loans worth £26.39billion to 110,000 companies, while a scheme for larger businesses, CLBILS, provided £5.56billion to 753 companies.

All of the schemes saw taxpayers underwrite a portion of loans that were offered to businesses via banks.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We promised to stand by businesses at every stage of the pandemic and we have delivered on that promise.

“I am proud of the extraordinary extent of support we’ve offered since March last year – we will continue to back businesses and protect people’s jobs as we recover from coronavirus.”

Catherine Lewis La Torre, chief executive of the British Business Bank which administers the schemes, 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 the UK and look forward to helping more businesses to prosper and grow as we look towards economic recovery.”

However, according to one official estimate as much as 60% of the Bounce Back Loans might be the victims of fraud and error.

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