Winter economy plan

How does the loan repayment part of the Winter Economy Plan impact pubs?

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

One size doesn't fit all: "increasing access to Government loans, and extending the lengths to pay them back, will help some pubs, but for many, taking on further debt in the form of a loan isn’t even a viable option," says BBPA boss Emma McClarkin
One size doesn't fit all: "increasing access to Government loans, and extending the lengths to pay them back, will help some pubs, but for many, taking on further debt in the form of a loan isn’t even a viable option," says BBPA boss Emma McClarkin

Related tags: Legislation, Finance, Government, Chancellor

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures on Government-backed loan schemes as part of his Winter Economy Plan earlier this week (Thursday 24 September).

This included the application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes being extended to 30 November.

The Government is also introducing Pay As You Grow – enabling businesses to have more flexible options on paying back the Bounce Back Loan.

More time and greater flexibility

Sunak said: "Bounce Back Loans have given more than 1m small businesses a £38bn boost to survive this pandemic. To give those businesses more time and greater flexibility to repay their loans we are introducing Pay As You Grow.

"This means loans can now be extended from six to 10 years, nearly halving the average monthly repayment. Businesses struggling can choose to make interest-only payments and anyone in real trouble can apply to suspend payments altogether for up to six months."

The Chancellor announced the Bounce Back Loan scheme in May​ where businesses can apply for 25% of their turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000, with the Government paying the interest for the first 12 months.

Pub operators including Mitchells & Butlers, Shepherd Neame and Revolution Bars, have used Government-backed loans amid the pandemic such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), meaning they can benefit from the Government’s plans to give lenders the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to 10 years if it will help businesses repay the loan.

Increasing access

This includes CBILS as well as the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund.

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Increasing access to Government loans, and extending the lengths to pay them back, will help some pubs, but for many, taking on further debt in the form of a loan isn’t even a viable option – particularly at this stage. 

“We need the Government to recognise that consumer confidence is fragile and the additional restrictions that could be in place for a further six months will only make this worse. We are asking them to consider ways they can help boost consumer confidence including running the successful Eat Out To Help Out scheme again and offering sector specific grants for pub businesses.”  

Corporate finance partner at accountancy firm Menzies, John Foundling added: “The existing loan schemes have been extended and loans will be guaranteed by the Government for longer, with a longer period during which to repay them, easing cashflow pressures.  In addition, the Chancellor has promised a successor to CBILs will be available from January.

Related topics: Legislation

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