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Bounce Back Loan Scheme: what you need to know

Updated February 2021: smaller businesses impacted by coronavirus can apply online for funding support of up to £50,000 via the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), if certain eligibility criteria are met. Flexible repayments (Pay as you Grow) were announced in September 2020 and extended as of 8 February 2021. New applications may be made until 31 March 2021.

OFFICIAL GUIDANCE: Bounce Back Loan Scheme

What is it and how can I get hold of the money?

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) provides lenders with a government-backed guarantee of 100% to offer loans of up to £50,000 to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

BBLS is administered by the British Business Bank and made available to businesses via accredited lenders.

UPDATE December 2020: BBLS is open for new applications until 31 March 2021 (previous deadline 31 January 2021).

UPDATE February 2021: Pay as you Grow repayment flexibility has been extended.

Key features of the scheme

  • From £2,000 to £50,000 facilities, up to 25% of turnover, for eligible businesses, regardless of annual turnover. UPDATE November 2020: Businesses that have borrowed less than their maximum limit may top up their existing loan, from week beginning 9 November.
  • Facilities: term loans
  • Repayment terms: six years, and early repayment permitted. Since September 2020 businesses that borrowed under BBLS may, under Pay as you Grow, have the option to
    - repay the loan over a period of up to 10 years;
    - move to interest-only repayments for a period of up to six months; or
    - under certain circumstances, pause repayments for a period of up to six months. UPDATE February 2021: Pause repayments entirely for up to six months (ie, make no payments until 18 months after the loan was taken out).
  • Interest rate: 2.5% per annum. No interest is payable in the first 12 months.
  • Personal guarantees: No personal guarantees. No recovery action can be taken over the borrower’s main home or primary personal vehicle but, for sole traders or partnerships, other personal assets may be at risk of recovery action.
  • 100% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee (100%) against the outstanding facility balance (principal and interest).
  • The borrower always remains 100% liable for repayment of the debt.
  • The borrower must self-declare they meet the eligibility criteria and make certain confirmations.

Eligibility and additional features

Some of the usual consumer protections do not apply, including those under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Businesses would be wise to seek advice from their ICAEW Chartered Accountant or business adviser when applying for funds. Find an ICAEW Chartered Accountant here.

A business must confirm:

  • It is a UK limited company or partnership, or tax resident in the UK, that was carrying on business on 1 March 2020
  • More than 50% of its income is derived from its trading activity
  • The loan will not be used for personal purposes but as an economic benefit for the business
  • Whether or not on 31 December 2019 it was a ‘business in difficulty’ (see definition in FAQs for Small Businesses: Bounce Back Loan Scheme) and does not breach state aid restrictions. If it was a ‘business in difficulty’ then, in addition, the facility will not be used for export-related activities
  • It is not in bankruptcy, debt restructuring proceedings or liquidation
  • Its understanding of losses that may be incurred, impact on credit rating, reduced consumer protection and that the lender will not assess affordability

A business will be subject to standard checks such as customer fraud, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. A lender may require other information eg self assessment tax returns.

Ineligible businesses and sectors: banks, building societies, insurance companies; the public sector including state-funded primary and secondary schools; or an individual other than a sole trader or partner acting on behalf of a partnership.

Businesses that have utilised the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) or the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) cannot also use the BBLS unless that loan will be refinanced in full by the BBLS.

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Additional information