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Sunak gives businesses extra flexibility on repaying COVID-19 loans

·1-min read
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is seen at Downing Street in London
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is seen at Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday he would introduce a new scheme to give businesses flexibility to repay loans taken out during the coronavirus crisis, giving them up to 10 years to repay the loans rather than six.

Under the government's Bounce Back Loan Scheme, 1.3 million small businesses have taken out a total of 38.0 billion pounds ($48.4 billion) in loans worth up to 50,000 pounds each, from banks which have received a 100% state guarantee.

"To give those businesses more time and greater flexibility to repay their loans, we are introducing Pay-as-you-Grow. This means loans can now be extended from six to 10 years, more than halving the average monthly repayment," Sunak told parliament.

"Businesses who are struggling can now choose to make interest only payments, and anyone in real trouble can apply to suspened repayments altogether for up to six months."

(Reporting by David Milliken and Andy Bruce, writing by Alistair Smout, editing by Estelle Shirbon)