Coronavirus business support

All about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and how to access it

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme is a part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees. Read more at the Government’s Business Support website.

CBILS has recently been significantly expanded along with changes to the scheme’s features and eligibility criteria. The changes mean even more smaller businesses across the UK impacted by the coronavirus crisis can access the funding they need.

Importantly, access to the scheme has been opened up to those smaller businesses who would have previously met the requirements for a commercial facility but would not have been eligible for CBILS. Insufficient security is no longer a condition to access the scheme.

This significantly increases the number of businesses eligible for the scheme. The expanded scheme became operational this week.

However, this is an area where the goal posts are still moving. The reason for the continual changes are as a result of businesses trying to use the scheme and not finding it as user-friendly as expected - but it is improving, so if you had already tried and failed to get an application accepted in the early days, it's definitely worth trying again.

Key things to note are:

  • Personal guarantees are no longer required for facilities less than £250,000. For facilities above £250,000 this is the lenders decision.

  • It is a lender decision based on their own lending criteria whether to provide the facility. If you are turned down by one lender you can still approach other lenders.

  • The scheme has also been extended for larger businesses (turnover greater than £45m) so that they can also get support. This is the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

If you are thinking of applying for these loans, it's worth trying to get together now all the paperwork you might need, such as:

  • Management accounts

  • Cash flow forecast

  • Business plan

  • Historic accounts

  • Details of assets

But even if you don't have these things ready, don't worry. For many customers approaching their existing lenders for a smaller facility, the process may be automated and therefore may not require the same level of documentation.

There are lots of specific requirements and criteria for CBILs, so for more information your first port of call should be the British Business Bank website:

CBILS for SMEs – how smaller businesses can apply for the scheme

CBILS: current accredited lenders – lists of lenders already providing finance through CBILS

FAQs for SMEs- the latest Q&As regarding CBILS