The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is calling on the Chancellor to address the blockages in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), as small contractors across the country are struggling to keep their businesses afloat.
An FMB survey this week that found that half of its members, who have applied for the CBILS, have found the process either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very difficult’. Of those FMB members who have applied for support, 10% have been rejected, while the vast majority (84%) are waiting to hear back from their bank.
Nearly one third of SME house builders believe they are not able to apply for a loan through the scheme . And those who are success many are being asked for a personal guarantee on application, or being forced to take out an overdraft with high interest.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive at the FMB, said: “While we understand the immense pressure banks are under at the moment, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme needs to be fast-tracked and the criteria clarified as soon as possible to stop small construction firms going to the wall.”
The FMB also reported that there are delays in banks getting back to firms who enquire about the loans. Others have been told by their lender that they must apply by post.
Mr Berry concluded by calling on the Government to work with Homes England and the devolved administrations to help find a way to keep SME house builders afloat in this time, ensuring that they are ready to resume building high quality homes after the coronavirus outbreak.