The application date for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has now been extended to 30 November, and the loan repayment process made more flexible.
To date, the BBLS has provided more than a million loans between £2,000 and £50,000 to businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Businesses can borrow up to 25% of their annual turnover, subject to a maximum loan of £50,000. Loans are 100% guaranteed by the government and are interest-free for the first 12 months, with no personal guarantees required. After 12 months, the annual interest rate is set at a very attractive 2.5%.
The original terms of the BBLS required repayment over six years. The new terms provide for more flexibility:
- The repayment period can be over ten years, although full repayment can be made at any time without penalty.
- It will be possible to make interest-only repayments for periods of up to six months. This option can be used three times.
- A business can suspend repayments altogether for up to six months. This option can only be used once.
What can a loan be used for?
The BBLS was introduced quickly and relied on self-certification rather than extensive credit checks. There is little restriction on what a loan can be used for, so long as it benefits the business.
Even if you are unsure whether additional business finance is required, there is no downside to having the funds sitting unused for a year and then repaying in full. Alternatively, an interest-free bounce back loan could be used to repay existing finance, which is likely to be much more costly.
Additionally, the loan can be used to support your personal income, considering it drawn from self-employment, or remuneration/dividends from a company.
Not surprisingly, the BBLS is expected to result in widespread fraud, with the government unlikely to receive value for money.
The BBLS application process can be found here, along with a link to accredited lenders.