The new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available for applications for small and medium sized businesses. The scheme will help any viable business with a turnover of up to £45m gain access to government-backed finance of up to £5m. Interest payments and any lender-levied fees for businesses will be covered by the government for an initial period of up to 12 months.

The government has said it will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each facility to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme is available through more than 40 accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website.

The Bank of England’s new lending facility for larger firms – the Covid Corporate Financing Facility – will also be open for applications, 23 March.

Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, said the Bank of England has taken steps in recent weeks to support the UK economy through the economic shock caused by Covid-19. He said: “On Monday [23 March] a new lending scheme, the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, will open to help businesses manage through this period of uncertainty. Combined with steps taken by the Government, this will help companies through this difficult time and support the needs of the people of this country.”

Information on the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, including which lenders to contact, is available on Bank of England’s website and will be updated throughout the day on 23 March. Businesses can talk to their lenders from the start of the day about accessing these loans.

Information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan is available through the British Business Bank. Interest and fees on the loans will be paid by the government for the first 12 months, making them interest free to customers. This period may be shorter for firms in the fishery, aquaculture and agriculture sectors.