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.