The Business Secretary, Alok Sharma has warned Banks to “step up” and it is unacceptable for them to refuse those UK taxpayers that need help.
Speaking from Downing Street press briefing on Wednesday, Sharma said, “It would be completely unacceptable if any big banks were refusing help to those in financial difficulty.
“Just as the taxpayer stepped in to help the banks back in 2008, we will work with the banks to do everything they can to repay that favour and support the businesses and people of the United Kingdom in their time of need.”
Sharma reminded banks that the UK taxpayer bailed them out in the 2008 financial crisis. He said that £12bn in grants is now with local authorities and urged them to pay it out “as quickly as possible.”
He said, “On Saturday, I said we had provided funds to councils in England to provide grants to small businesses,” he said.
“As of today, these local authorities have received more than £12bn.
“This afternoon I held a call with hundreds of local authorities across England and made clear this money must reach businesses as quickly as possible.
“I know businesses across England have already started to receive these grants.”
Sharma said, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority have written to chief executives of all UK banks to urge them to make sure the benefits of the coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is “passed through to businesses and consumers.”
Sharma said that the new scheme will “not be perfect from the outset” and he confirmed Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to be announcing changes.
He added, “We are listening all the time.
“And in response to concerns we have heard from businesses, we are looking at ways we can ensure they get the support they need.
“The Chancellor will be saying more on this in the coming days.”
It is expected the Chancellor will make an announcement on Thursday.