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Chancellor Strengthens Support On Offer For Businesses

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is today taking further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies, including:

  • The current loan scheme being extended so more small businesses can benefit;
  • Lenders being banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000; and
  • A new scheme announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans.

To maximise the support available, the Chancellor is extending the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time.

It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

This will give banks the confidence to lend to more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus but which they would not lend to without CLBILS. Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme will be announced later this month.

The Chancellor also stated that more than £90 million of loans to nearly 1,000 small and medium sized firms have now been approved under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) since its launch last week.

And a government-backed scheme to provide financing to larger companies, being operated by the Bank of England, has also provided almost £1.9 billion of support to firms and a further £1.6 billion has been committed.

 

 

Liz-Cameron-OBE-SSC-320x214On the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of further financial support for Scottish business affected by Covid-19, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“This is a much needed boost to the financial package available to Scottish businesses. We asked the Chancellor for a rethink to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and he has listened.

 

“There were gaps, particularly for small and medium-sized companies in the original package.

"Our message remains the same: Get the cash out the door fast – businesses cannot afford to wait if we are to survive.

"This is about saving jobs and the livelihoods of millions of employees across all sectors throughout Scotland.”

 

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SCC comment on UK Chancellor's announcement of further financial support for Scottish business affected by Covid-19

On the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of further financial support for Scottish business affected by Covid-19, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

 

“This is a much needed boost to the financial package available to Scottish businesses. We asked the Chancellor for a rethink to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and he has listened.

“There were gaps, particularly for small and medium-sized companies in the original package. Our message remains the same: Get the cash out the door fast – businesses cannot afford to wait if we are to survive. This is about saving jobs and the livelihoods of millions of employees across all sectors throughout Scotland.”

 

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Royal Bank of Scotland - Covid-19 - Support Update

RBS Managing Director for Scotland, Malcolm Buchanan has provided an updated overview of the bank’s coronavirus support measures.
 
 
 
Malcolm Buchanan RBS
Following on from last weeks update, we have announced further measures this morning. These include:
 
Personal customers:
 
  • Freezing overdraft interest rates at current levels for personal customers for at least three months and removing all other overdraft fees and charges.
  • Following the two Bank of England base rate decreases, we have passed on the full rate change to mortgage customers.
  • We’ve received significant interest from customers on mortgage repayment holidays. We have already processed the majority of these. On application, we let customers know that if their payment was due in the next 14 days, we may not be able to stop the payment. We have e-mailed customers affected to let them know that they will still benefit from the full 3 month offering, but this will run May – July. 
  • Proactively contacted over 150,000 customers over the age of 70 who don’t have access to digital banking to check on their welfare and find out how we can support them.
  • Vulnerable customers and NHS workers now have the option to get up to £500 delivered securely to their home address, thanks to our new partnership with Travelex.
 
Business customers:
 
  • Implemented our Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans – which start at £5,000 (which is lower than any other bank).
  • We said right from the start that we will not take Personal Guarantees (PG) in support of any CBILS loans.
  • We have received significant interest in the CBILS scheme which is driving exceptionally high call levels to our centres. We are working as quickly as we can to process these, and working with the UK government to broaden availability of the scheme and further streamline the process to get funds to businesses as fast as we can.
  • We are already assisting larger customers who wish to apply for Bank of England’s Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
  • We are also actively working with customers unable to access either CBILS or CCFF to explore alternative forms of finance and we are engaging with Bank of England and Treasury officials on how these customers could be best supported.
 
General:
 
  • Match funding donations made by our customers to the National Emergencies Trust, contributing a total donation of up to £10 million. 
  • More than £1 million to help 8 not-for-profit, debt management partners including PayPlan, StepChange, Money Advice Trust, Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland, Money Advice Scotland, Christians Against Poverty and Advice NI.
  • Using our HQ at Gogarburn in Edinburgh as a food bank distribution hub for Social Bite and Trussell Trust charities. 
 
In the weeks and months ahead, colleagues from the bank will continue to work closely with policymakers, regulators and the wider sector to tackle the shared challenges we face.
 
We will continue to do all we can to support customers and the economy as a whole. Our colleagues in the bank are working incredibly hard, in difficult circumstances, and are facing many of the same concerns around health, family support and wellbeing as the rest of the population. Like many organisations we have fewer colleagues responding to much greater enquiries than normal. We are doing everything we can to support our colleagues and are moving quickly to get solutions in place so we can help customers as fast and as accurately as possible.  
 
 

Working with partners to support the Covid-19 response is the immediate focus of new South of Scotland Enterprise

Working closely with partners both locally and nationally supporting businesses and communities is the top priority of the new South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) which goes live today (1 April). This is even more urgent and necessary in response to the national Covid-19 crisis.

 

SOSE’s Board which was announced on 17 March has already had two virtual meetings. It is clear from those that the most effective way to help support the region deal with the impact of Covid-19 is to work closely with Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and other partners to add to the collective response already well underway. An initial meeting of the coordinating group took place last week.

 

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of SOSE said: “Today we go live as the new Economic Agency for the South of Scotland in the middle of a global public health crisis which is impacting on our economy. We need to recognise the severity of the situation for many and we also need to look ahead to supporting the recovery.

“In order to support our region, it is absolutely vital that we work as one collective voice for the South of Scotland alongside both councils to support this response in any way we can, and in a way that best serves the needs of communities and businesses across the region.

“As part of that, we need to fully understand how best we can align our resources to help complement and potentially add to the local and national support packages already in place in a way that supports the unique challenges of the South.

We have already had very productive discussions with both councils and continue to work with them as well as other partners to develop plans around where we can potentially add to support and resources during this extremely difficult time.”

 

Nick Halfhide, Interim Chief Executive of SOSE explained: “We fully understand this is a really upsetting and uncertain time for families, businesses and communities. The scale of the challenge is one which can only ever be overcome by everyone pulling together and identifying the specific needs in our region. SOSE will take some time to evolve as any new organisation would, but we are focusing our priorities and are committed to working together with our partners to deliver what’s needed in the best interest of our communities.”

 

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy said: ‘Scotland’s newest enterprise agency is starting its work facing economic circumstances that none of us could have predicted. I know that South of Scotland Enterprise, with a great team at its helm, will rise to that challenge. Its number one priority is now to help with the response to the COVID-19 crisis, working in partnership with national and local agencies to mitigate its impacts on businesses and communities across the South of Scotland.

“With a firm focus on the specific needs and circumstances of the south, I know that South of Scotland Enterprise will work with pace and purpose to support economic resilience and recovery, unlock the region’s full economic potential, and make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives.”

 

SOSE are asking people to keep up to date with the Government response via www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19 and a business helpline is also now available on 0300 303 0660. Information about support available to businesses in Scotland, such as grants for companies and changes to non-domestic rates, can be found at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice Both our local authority partners (Scottish Borders Council & Dumfries & Galloway Council) are also keeping their websites up to date: https://www.scotborders.gov.uk/coronavirus and https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/20660/COVID-19-Support-for-Local-Businesses

 

 Rob_Davidson.jpg Depute Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Rob Davidson, said: “We are already working hard getting much needed Government grant support out to our local businesses. We are pleased to see the new agency up and running and look forward to working jointly with SOSE to ensure that our businesses receive the help needed during this crisis. Partnership working between both Councils, SOSE and other local bodies will help develop a robust recovery plan, looking beyond the immediate emergency.”

 

 

Elaine_Murray.jpgLeader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray, said: “Due to our shared history we already understand the value of partnership working in the South of Scotland. We have worked together on a number of deals and ventures and we are looking forward to the continuation of this successful partnership through SOSE.”

 

SCC comment on Treasury plans to widen access to emergency bank lending

On Treasury plans to widen access to emergency bank lending, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

"The UK Government has moved quickly to guarantee support for businesses through the banking industry, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

"Businesses which have been successful and viable need cash injections quickly and on fair conditions, and our banking industry has a critical role to play to support these businesses through this crisis.

"Our ask is clear: remove barriers and prohibitive loan conditions to protect businesses and jobs. One immediate way of doing this is by committing to provide unsecured lending through CBILS for facilities of £250,000 and under.

"The Chancellor must also set out in detail the requirements for businesses to access this vital loan facility to ensure that all banks are playing by the same rule-book."

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