Convert Bounce Back Loans to Business Grants for Small Businesses

Convert Bounce Back Loans to Business Grants for Small Businesses

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Chris Wardle started this petition to Rishi Sunak

The Government has offered grants to help many businesses survive during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  From payment of 80% of furloughed staff wages, VAT holidays, a freeze on business rates, 'eat out to help out' and other such benefits, these initiatives have been fundamental in helping thousands of UK businesses to continue to meet their liabilities, retain staff and hopefully still exist post-Covid.

However, one sector that has been overlooked for grants is Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs), typically Limited Companies with a sole director who is remunerated via dividends.  There are around 6 million SMEs in the UK, employing over 16 million people and contributing a turnover of £2.3 trillion to the UK economy.  However, many are not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme and similar grants as they cannot furlough themselves under the stringent 'no work' rule.

Many such businesses have taken advantage of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which provides a loan of up to 25% of annual turnover.  However, unlike the grants listed above, the BBLS must be paid back, plus 2.5% interest, over a period of 6 years. 

This petition seeks a change in current policy to convert BBLS from loans into grants that do not need to be paid back.  This would help to bring parity to a sector that has experienced devastating reductions in turnover as much as any other yet has no other grant scheme available to help cover costs.  Even a hybrid position would be of huge benefit, such as changing BBLS status to part grant/part loan.

Without this change to BBLS many SMEs will, at best, carry liability for significant debt for a number of years.  At worst, some will cease to trade.  Please support your local SMEs by signing this petition. It takes seconds. Thank you.

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