More than £4bn of Government cash has been handed out to firms in the West Midlands to help support the region’s recovery from coronavirus.
New figures published by HM Treasury today show that, as of August 2, more than 87,000 businesses in the West Midlands received £3.3bn in government-supported loan schemes – such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – as part of Government efforts to help businesses bounce back from the pandemic.
At the same time, more than 92,000 businesses were given £1bn in grants and under a third of employees (31.8 per cent) in the West Midlands benefited from the furlough scheme.
Unsurprisingly, the sectors which benefited most from the support was retail, construction and hospitality – including hotels and restaurants.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “We said we would do whatever it takes to protect jobs and businesses from the economic emergency brought on by coronavirus – and that is exactly what we did.
“Today’s figures show how our unprecedented support has benefitted the whole of the UK, and we will build on this as we move to the next stage of our recovery through our Plan for Jobs which will protect, support and create jobs for all regions across the country.”
The support has helped a range of businesses across the West Midlands including Home Farm Attingham, a family-run dairy farm in Atcham, Shropshire.
The business received a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan from Barclays to cover expenditure in preparation for winter operations and to keep the enterprise running through the lockdown period, allowing it to mitigate the impact of losing a significant amount of tourism traffic through its tearooms.
Birmingham-based The Shortbread Company was also among the loan recipients in the West Midlands.
Company founder Diana Read said: “Applying for a Bounce Back Loan was a quick and simple process taking less than 10 minutes, and funds were in my account within 48 hours.
“The Bounce Back Loan will allow us to scale and grow The Shortbread Company’s online store, purchase necessary materials and equipment, and hire a relevant team to help with various aspects of the business, for example, social media marketing.
“Without the support of a Government Loan, growing the company would have been a long and tedious process and perhaps never growing to where we want to be.”
The Chancellor set out his Plan for Jobs last week, to support jobs with the Job Retention Bonus to help businesses keep furloughed workers and expand Worksearch Support including a Flexible Support Fund and a £2 billion Kickstart scheme to subsidise jobs for young people.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “We were clear from the start of this crisis that no region would be left behind, and it is heartening to see the difference our support has made for businesses of all sizes in the West Midlands.
“As we rebuild from the pandemic, we will continue to prioritise jobs and skills, while placing the environment at the heart of our recovery.”