Funding boost for small businesses

28th August 2020

Alok Sharma, the local Member of Parliament for Reading West, has welcomed the announcement that the UK Government-owned British Business Bank has issued its 75,000th loan through its Start Up Loans programme, marking more than £623 million invested in small businesses across the UK since its launch in 2012.

Across the South East, 6,752 loans have been made so far to small businesses and entrepreneurs, totalling £60,396,668 with the average loan being £8,945 – meaning that thousands of people have benefitted from UK Government backed support where they may otherwise have struggled to access it.

Of the people who have received a loan since 2012, 40 per cent were women, one in five came from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME), and one third were unemployed when they applied for the loan, reflecting the diversity of the UK start up community.

The Start Up Loans scheme has benefitted every region and country in the UK, and underscores the government’s commitment to level up and improve opportunities across every part of the United Kingdom as we continue our recovery from coronavirus.

The Conservative Government has already provided a huge and unprecedented package of support for businesses through this difficult time, including providing income support for self-employed workers, Bounce Back Loans of up to £50,000 for businesses experiencing financial difficulties, grants of up to £25,000 for the industries and small businesses which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, a temporary cut in VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, and a 12-month business rates holiday for sectors which are struggling with cashflow issues.

Across Reading West, this has meant:

  • Self-employed people in Reading West have accessed £13,700,000 worth of Government grants, which do not need to be paid back, to cover lost earnings.
  • £41,314,496 has been paid out to local businesses in the form of Bounce Back Loans, which provides loans of up to £50,000 within days of an application.
  • £10,742,000 worth of grants has been handed out to businesses in Reading West, which do not need to be paid back.

Alok Sharma said: “The Start Up Loans programme was set up by the government-owned British Business Bank to give funding and support to entrepreneurs who might otherwise struggle to access it, making a real difference to tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across the country.”

“Our plan to build back better will level up every region and sector of the UK economy, backing makers, doers and innovators regardless of background.”

“As well as finance, every loan recipient is offered a support package, including access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months to help them with every aspect of setting up a business.”

Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP speaking in the House of Commons, October 2019

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