(Reuters) - Britain’s Treasury and British Business Bank officials are reviewing access to state-backed loan schemes after the European Union relaxed state aid rules, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The Treasury is considering ways of making it easier for businesses to access coronavirus support loans - ahead of expected measures from British finance minister Rishi Sunak, the newspaper said.
EU regulators loosened state aid rules last week, making it easier for companies hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to receive support for environmental protection and energy projects as well as for research and development.
A Treasury spokesman confirmed to the newspaper that officials “are considering the implications of this (European Commission) amendment for the loan schemes” and that the change by the EC was “an important step in ensuring all viable businesses receive the help they need.”
The report bit.ly/3f3zxwX, citing Treasury sources, said it was likely that UK firms rejected for emergency help under the EU's financial difficulty tests could reapply if the loan schemes were altered.
Britain was forced to adopt “financial difficulty” tests under EU state aid rules, which blocked access to the loans by otherwise solid businesses, such as start-ups, that were loss-making because they have invested heavily for growth, or have complex structures, the report added.
Sunak is set to make an announcement in a few days on the government’s job support schemes and its plans to steer the economy through the pandemic.
Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Peter Cooney