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Emergency loans scheme for three million excluded from Government support

The Small Business Interruption Loan Service allows self-employed and sole traders to pool together financial support from a trusted network.

A new emergency coronavirus loans scheme has been launched by a fintech-led group to help some of the three million freelancers and self-employed workers who have missed out on Government support.

The Small Business Interruption Loan Service (SBILS) has been unveiled by a raft of fintech firms, with the backing of MPs and in association with ExcludedUK – which has been joined by tens of thousands of self-employed and small business owners not eligible for Covid-19 financial help.

The scheme works as a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, which has been provided by P2P lender JustUs, working alongside Covid-response fintech taskforce BBFTA.

Many of these people are now facing significant financial hardship, having found themselves ineligible from grants and schemes put in place that should have been able to help them sustain their income Anneka Hicks, ExcludedUK

It will allow applicants to pool together financial support from their network identified by them with support from SBILS, including friends, family, customers, business partners and suppliers.

It comes amid disappointment that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer statement failed to offer any extension of the current emergency loans support for sole traders and self-employed.

The number of UK businesses and sole traders not able to qualify for Government support stands at around three million, such as the newly self-employed, self-employed that earn over £50,000 and directors paid in dividends.

The SBILS alternative lending platform is set to help more than 50,000 of the excluded businesses.

Anneka Hicks – founder of ExcludedUK, which is backed by around 200 MPs -said:  “Many of these people are now facing significant financial hardship, having found themselves ineligible from grants and schemes put in place that should have been able to help them sustain their income and prevent the closure of their businesses, or the loss of their livelihoods during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We are very happy to work alongside JustUs to present SBILS as an innovative solution that offers SMEs an alternative at a time when Government isn’t providing the needed financial support.”

She said it would give these small firms and self-employed the chance to source support from their own networks “but with the necessary security for all those involved”.

Lee Birkett, founder of JustUs P2P platform and SBILS, said: “Using a peer network is a very viable solution for tens of thousands of businesses.

“However, we are still urging the Government to reassess its criteria – it should be acting as the main financial lifeline for SMEs, with platforms such as SBILS, then being a further support stream.”

Small firms and the self-employed will be able to apply for SBILs by downloading the Moneybrain app from July 10.

If the application review is successful, the SBILS teams will help businesses build a loan request campaign, which they can use to source funding from their network.

Once fully funded, money is received within 24 hours.

Borrowers on the platform will not need to make repayments for the first 12 months, with an initial 3% interest rate rolled up for the first year.

The interest rate then increases up to 8%, depending on the loan amount.

PA