Deputy Political Editor

三级成人视频Rishi Sunak launched a major overhaul of an emergency small business loan scheme as figures showed fewer than one in 100 companies expressing an interest have received any cash.

The Chancellor relaxed rules governing the Coronavirus Business Interruption programme三级成人视频 after statistics revealed that more than 130,000 small firms have made an inquiry so far - but fewer than 1,000 have secured funding.

Mr Sunak also announced that he will give more backing to so-called "squeezed middle" companies which are currently falling through the cracks.

He said the changes will allow banks to process loans as quickly as possible for small businesses, amid concerns lenders are dragging their feet and pushing applicants to take out high interest alternatives instead.

三级成人视频The scheme – which opened for applications last week – offers loans of up to £5m to companies struggling amid the coronavirus chaos. The loans are interest-free for a year and 80pc of the cost will be covered by taxpayers if a business defaults.

This programme is meant to protect swathes of firms so the economy can be quickly restarted when the lockdown lifts, but there are growing fears the businesses will not be able to access money in time to stay afloat.

Banks have now been banned from requesting personal guarantees – which allow them to take a director's property if they cannot pay funds back - on loans under £250,000. Most high street lenders have already promised to do this following a backlash三级成人视频 but the government will now force all of them to act.

The government has also removed a requirement for businesses to demonstrate that they have no other means of accessing funding in an attempt to widen the scheme.

三级成人视频There have now been more than 130,000 enquiries from companies for the loans, according to new data from UK Finance.

But only 983 businesses have had their finance approved, with around £90 million of loans.

三级成人视频Companies trying to apply for the loans said banks had been demanding the guarantees and charging double-digit interest rates after the first interest-free 12 months.

The Treasury said all viable small businesses affected by coronavirus will now be eligible for the scheme and they will not have to offer any proof they have looked elsewhere first.

Mr Sunak also offered a lifeline for mid-cap businesses.

About 5,000 companies had been previously been too big for the loan scheme – which is capped at firms with turnover of £45m – and too small for Covid Corporate Financing Facility, which helps multinational companies.

三级成人视频A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will provide a government guarantee of 80pc for loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m.

三级成人视频Further details of the new scheme will be announced later this month.

三级成人视频It comes after businesses warned Treasury officials not to let middle-sized businesses fall though the gaps.

A source close to the discussions said: “If you aren’t helping those type of firms, especially those with significant regional presence – the idea of levelling up the economy would just disappear.”

Mr Sunak said: “We have also listened to the concerns of some larger businesses affected by COVID-19 and are announcing new support so they can benefit too.

The Chancellor will speak to bank chief executives next week to discuss how the schemes are working.

三级成人视频Last night Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, said the new scheme for larger businesses is a big step forward.

She said: “By providing more support for mid-tier companies, they are backing our most significant and iconic regional employers.

"These firms number in the thousands and make a huge contribution to the economy, so it’s good to see them getting the support they deserve.”