BUSINESS leaders have welcomed the UK Government’s move to extend the size of loans available to larger businesses which have been affected by coronavirus.

The Treasury said companies are now receiving up to £200 million from the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which previously had a maximum payout of £50m.

The CLBILS scheme was introduced last month by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support companies with sales of between £45 million and £250 million.

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It was introduced for firms who are ineligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme intended for smaller firms, and the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, which has been accessed by very large firms, such as easyJet. The Government said it has provided £359m through the CLBILS scheme, while it has provided 36,000 loans worth more than £6 billion through the CBILS scheme.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is welcome news. The Treasury has continued to listen to the concerns of business and is making sensible changes to business support schemes.

“These vital changes will make a real difference to companies, in particular larger firms. Access to finance is a priority for businesses of all sizes and the changes to this scheme, coupled with the other lending support schemes available will make sure that companies get the help they need to see them through this economic crisis.”

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said “some mid-cap businesses urgently need access to larger loans to tide them over”.