UK government mulls emergency scheme to aid SMEs

FILE PHOTO: People wearing masks walk past the Bank of England, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain

Britain’s Treasury and Bank of England are discussing an emergency funding scheme to help payments to cash-starved small businesses, Sky News reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the Treasury and BOE are in discussions about a programme targeted at providers of supply chain finance.

Under the plans, which are at an exploratory stage, the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), a support scheme aimed at large private sector employers, would be amended to promote faster payments of small and medium-sized businesses’ invoices, the report said.

The finance ministry declined to comment on the details of the report and said in a statement: “We are taking unprecedented action to support business, including business loans and guarantees, paying 80% of furloughed workers’ wages and tax deferrals.”

The ministry has outlined several different schemes to prop up the economy, large parts of which have been shuttered to help stop the spread of the virus, and ministers have not ruled out further support mechanisms developed in consultation with industry.

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