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ICAEW continues work on COVID-19 emergency measures

ICAEW experts, including head of corporate finance David Petrie, have been working closely with UK government ministers and departments, the Bank of England and the British Business Bank to support and improve emergency measures for businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

On 17 April, Petrie took part in an online meeting of the Business Finance Council, which he was invited to join when it was set up last year by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The meeting was chaired by Business Secretary Alok Sharma. Attendees also included the heads of Britain’s leading banks, alternative lenders and representatives from select trade bodies – the British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, as well as John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, and Paul Scully, the minister for small business.

Petrie expressed concerns expressed by members about the eligibility and speed of access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), and the expansion of the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The meeting preceded the announcement that CBILS would be expanded to larger companies, and the announcement of the £250m Future Fund for VC-backed companies that have been affected by COVID-19.

“We pressed for further measures to support businesses as a matter of urgency because they are running short of finance in the short-term,” Petrie said.

“The extension of existing bank facilities and government support via longer-term equity investment is also essential.”

He has also been closely liaising with the British Business Bank, which is co-ordinating CBILS, although the main banks operate it. “Part of the issue is that resourcing the schemes and processing the vast number of applications has been very challenging for a number of the banks,” he said.

Corporate Finance Faculty members can find more information about the response to the crisis at icaew.com/cff.