Small businesses in Cumbria are urged to take advantage of the Government's new Bounce Back Loans scheme.

The fast-track finance scheme, aimed at the UK's smallest firms, provides loans with an 100 per cent Government-backed guarantee for those lending between £2,000 and £50,000.

It is designed to provide urgent support to businesses needing a cash injection to keep operating, with decisions made very quickly and funding provided in a matter of days.

The Government will provide those lending the money with a 100 per cent guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months.

No repayments will be required during the first 12 months and businesses can apply online through a short, simple application form.

The Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group of the Local Resilience Forum, responsible for developing the county’s business and economy response to Covid-19, is encouraging firms to apply.

Jo Lappin, group chair, said: “These are incredibly difficult times for businesses of all sizes with many seriously struggling with their cash flow.

“We know that many Cumbrian businesses have taken advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and furloughed some of their staff.

"The first payments from the scheme are due imminently, which will hopefully help many businesses cashflow.

“The Bounce Back Loans Scheme is another helpful addition to the range of support available and might be particularly valuable to our smaller businesses, such as sole traders, micro-firms and entrepreneurs.

“These loans are designed to provide fast access to funds at a lower interest rate to help smaller businesses address the cash flow issues that they might be facing.

“Clearly, this is a loan that will need to be paid back and as such we would encourage businesses to look into this new source of funding but at the same time seek advice from their own bank or accountant.”

The loans will be available from 9am on Monday, May 4 and firms will be able to access them through a network of accredited lenders.