THE HAMPSHIRE Chamber of Commerce has welcomed revisions to the scheme designed to loan money to businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak had come under criticism after figures revealed that only £145 million of loans had been given out - despite a pledge of £30

The government has pledged to give £330bn of loans to businesses, but only £145m has been lent so far.

Businesses are blaming eligibility criteria from the high-street banks administering the loans.

However, it was announced today that the scheme will no longer be limited to businesses that have been refused a loan on commercial terms, and that banks will no longer be able to ask company owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property, when borrowing up to £250,000.

Larger firms, with a turnover of up to £500 million will also be eligible for help.

Now, the Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the changes.

Ross McNally said: “We welcome Rishi Sunak’s move to make it easier for companies to access loans.

“Frankly, the original scheme announced just two weeks ago simply wasn’t going to work.

“The requirement of upfront personal guarantees from directors wasn’t proving acceptable to Chamber members and other businesses rightly worried about cashflow.

“The upshot is that many more companies will be able to draw on a vital lifeline of financial support as they navigate the coming weeks and months. "

The Treasury has not capped the interest rate that banks can charge.