Government publishes regional Covid-19 finance figures

Almost 900,000 businesses in England have benefitted from more than £10 billion in Covid-19 loans and grants, the latest figures reveal.

The research, published by HM Treasury, is the first to break down financial support, such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), small business grant funds and the business rates holiday, by country, region, and sector.

According to the report, English firms affected by the coronavirus pandemic received 871,000 loans worth approximately £37.1 billion.

Firms in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, meanwhile, benefitted from a combined 130,000 loans worth approximately £4.7 billion.

Regionally, 131,000 business properties in the North West received £1.5 billion in relief since the beginning of March – the highest in the UK outside of London. It was followed by the South West (119,000 grants worth £1.3 billion) and Yorkshire and the Humber (102,000 grants worth £1.1 billion).

By sector, the retail, construction, and hospitality sectors – which were forced to all but close throughout the pandemic – benefitted the most, with 17 per cent of loans heading in the direction of firms working within these industries.

Across every region and sector, meanwhile, approximately a third of the workforce took part in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Commenting on the figures, Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance at UK Finance, said: “Lenders understand that times are tough for businesses up and down the country, but the industry has a clear plan to help them get through this crisis. Whether you’re a sole trader in a rural area or a company with hundreds of employees in a major city, the banking and finance industry stands ready to offer the right support to suit your needs and these figures demonstrate that funding is well distributed throughout the UK.

“Businesses should remember that any lending provided under government-backed schemes is a loan not a grant, and so should carefully consider their ability to repay before applying.”

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