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Chancellor to overhaul SME aid scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is reportedly preparing to overhaul the emergency aid scheme for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), to help prevent a deluge of coronavirus-related insolvencies. 

The chancellor is expected to announce over the next few days that a ”key feature” of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – the requirement for banks to first assess whether SMEs are eligible for their other lending options – will be removed, Sky News has reported.

The change will aim to speed up the decision-making processes within high street banks, allowing SMEs to access the funds more quickly. 

Under the revamped programme, any viable business with a turnover of up to £45m will reportedly be able to access the scheme, which will be interest- and fee-free for the first year. 

The Treasury declined to comment. 

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