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UK launches loan scheme to help companies recover

·1-min read

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will on Tuesday launch a government-backed loan scheme to help companies access finance as the economy reopens from a strict lockdown, offering maximum loans of 10 million pounds ($14 million).

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said the loans, ranging from 25,001 pounds to 10 million, would replace existing COVID-19 programmes and be on top of a grant scheme that has been launched to help companies restart trading.

The scheme will be administered by the British Business Bank, with loans available through commercial lenders and the government providing an 80% guarantee. It will run until the end of this year and interest rates will be capped at 14.99%.

The government is urging lenders to keep rates down to protect jobs. The government said so far its emergency loans had supported more than 75 billion pounds of financing.

"As we safely reopen parts of our economy, our new Recovery Loan Scheme will ensure that businesses continue to have access to the finance they need as we move out of this crisis," Sunak said.

($1 = 0.7218 pounds)

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Barbara Lewis)