Rayleigh and Wickford MP, Mark Francois, has today written to Stephen Jones, the Chief Executive of UK Finance, which represents the UK banking industry, calling on the banks to help bail out British businesses – in return for the British people bailing out the banks in 2008.
Mark took this action after being contacted by multiple local businesses in his constituency, who were having difficulty in arranging loans from their banks, even under the Government’s new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) scheme. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, changed the conditions of the scheme last week, to make it easier for businesses to apply for help but this doesn’t appear to have filtered down to the bank’s ground level.
In his letter to Stephen Jones, Mark argued the following:
In short, in 2008 the British people, at very considerable cost, bailed out the banks. It now seems to me as a Parliamentarian that this is an opportunity for the banks to repay the complement and help bail out the British people and their businesses in return. If some banks lose some money as a result of this, then so be it but that would be a price worth paying if it means we are able to retain a viable economy overall.
Mark has also spoken to ministers at HM Treasury, to encourage them to increase the pressure on banks, to take a more understanding attitude in these challenging times.
Commenting on this initiative, Mark Francois MP said:
“Although those businesses that qualify for grants are now starting to receive the money, via local councils, those that need loans under the CBIL scheme are in some cases, having to wait on the phone for over 5 hours, even to get through to someone at their bank that they can talk to. One publican I spoke to spent considerable time trying to explain to a banker that he could not provide a cash flow projection as he did not know when he would be able to re-open his pub! The banks, some of whom would have gone bust without public support a decade ago, really need to raise their game, to stop what are otherwise perfectly viable businesses from going bust during the pandemic. I made this very plain in my letter and I do hope that they listen.”