'Great opportunity'

SMEs urged apply for government loan scheme

Nicola Campbell: take action now

Scottish businesses seeking cash to fund investment, or ease working capital or trading problems, are being encouraged to apply for the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) before it ends on 30 June.

The scheme offers businesses loans of up to £2m of which 70% is underwritten by the government and is available to businesses with a turnover below £45m that have been affected by Covid.

The finance may be used for any legitimate purpose, including cashflow, investment and growth, but the business must be able to afford the additional debt finance required.  

It is accessible through lenders accredited by the British Business Bank.  More than £1 billion has now been offered to SMEs.

Nicola Campbell, a partner and SME expert with accountancy firm Azets, is urging qualifying businesses to apply quickly.

She said: “It can take around six weeks to process an RLS application so anyone considering this option should start taking action now.

“The RLS offers a very attractive and accessible funding solution to SMEs trying to secure finance in a difficult funding market.   Securing a more traditional bank loan can be difficult, particularly if a business is struggling with paying back other Covid loans and soaring costs and taxes.  With some sound negotiation it should be possible to secure an RLS loan at circa 5%.”

Ms Campbell also highlighted the attractions of the Super Capital Allowances scheme, which allows 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery expenditure through to 31 March 2023.  

SMEs could secure an RLS loan, invest in the business and further benefit from generous capital allowances of 130%.  It is a great opportunity to borrow, invest and save and it is unlikely that we will see such an attractive incentive again” she said.

“Covid loans and support measures will soon be over, and whilst there are affordability checks applicable to the RLS, it is one of the most attractive funding options currently available.”

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