Businesses have taken out £180 billion in government-backed loans since the start of the pandemic, official figures show.
Treasury figures suggest that 1.6 million businesses have drawn on support, which was designed to prevent large numbers of company failures during the lockdowns. As of March 21, they had borrowed £179.1 billion, up by £2.2 billion from the previous month.
About a quarter of the country’s businesses have drawn on the support, which includes the bounce back loan scheme for small firms. Under the programme, businesses have been able to take out up to £50,000 in loans that are 100 per cent guaranteed by the state.
Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, said: “I’m delighted that our bounce back loan scheme worked so effectively that it issued three loans every minute since its launch last May.”
More than 1.5 million businesses have borrowed £46.53 billion through the bounce back loan scheme.
Another 98,344 have borrowed £23.28 billion through the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, while a similar scheme for large businesses has backed £5.3 billion in loans to 716 big businesses.
It also facilitated £104 billion of commercial paper through the Covid corporate financing facility, which is run by the Bank of England.