CBILS loans worth less than 2% of £212bn owed to coronavirus-hit businesses


The funds sent to UK businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) are worth less than two per cent of the £212.8 billion in cash currently due to UK SMEs in unpaid invoices, according to new research.

The country’s smallest businesses (under 50 employees) generate £1.53 trillion in annual revenue for the UK economy yet wait on average 50.8 days to be paid. According to bePayd analysis, this means that, at any one-time, small companies are waiting for up to £212.8 billion in cash for work they have already done.

According to bePayd, a ‘silent majority’ of UK SMEs are not accessing government support, with unpaid invoices the fastest and most effective way to unlock cash and kick-start the economy. As many as three million businesses are facing bankruptcy in a month’s time.

Anthony Persse, Financial Solutions Director, Proactis said: “While the UK Government recognises the importance of keeping companies afloat during this crisis, we must put into perspective how much more money needs to flow through the economy to avoid the collapse of huge swathes of businesses and livelihoods.

“With an estimated £212 billion currently due to SMEs, the CBILS loan scheme is falling well short of addressing the cashflow problems that lie ahead. We must ensure that larger businesses have adequate means to process cash payments quickly, handing it on to their suppliers and contractors. The silent majority of small businesses are in their millions, are not accessing the CBILS scheme, and are desperate to know payments can be made quickly.”

Martin McTague, Policy and Advocacy Chairman, FSB said: “The UK already faced a late payment crisis before coronavirus hit, and we know that late payments are likely to get worse in an economic downtown.  Now more than ever, small businesses deserve to be paid faster.”

The UK Small Business Commissioner, Philip King, is signalling his support for a variety of fintech solutions to help SMEs. It is hoped that bePayd can join the list of government-backed solutions to ensure UK SMEs can secure cash swiftly.