Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

If COVID-19 has affected your business' revenue and cashflow, find out how to get a government-backed loan.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is designed to support businesses that need finance to survive the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic and carry on afterwards.

Through CBILS, you can access financial support of up to £5 million if your business has been adversely affected by COVID-19.

As of 17 December 2020, the Government has announced that it will be extending the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) until 31 March 2021.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) +

  • For smaller businesses with a turnover of less than £45m
  • Looking for up to £5m in finance
  • Business loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance available
  • Government covers first 12 months of interest and lender-levied fees
  • More than 90 accredited lenders
  • Personal guarantees of any form will not be taken for facilities below £250,000

View full details of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Eligibility +

Who can apply

To be eligible for CBILS, your business must:

  • be UK-based in its business activity
  • have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
  • have a viable borrowing proposal were it not for the current pandemic
  • self-certify that it has been adversely affected by the coronavirus

Who cannot apply

You won't be eligible for CBILS if your business:

  • was classified as a business in difficulty at 31 December 2019 (if you’re applying for £30,000 or more)
  • operates in a restricted sector

For more information on eligibility and business in difficulty criteria, view the CBILS frequently asked questions

Restricted sectors

You won't be eligible for CBILS if your business is:

  • a bank, an insurer or a reinsurer
  • a public-sector organisation
  • a state-funded primary or secondary school

View the CBILS frequently asked questions for a full list of restricted sectors

If you’re already using CBILS

If you’re already using other CBILS loans, you won't be allowed to apply for further finance if the new loan, overdraft, invoice or asset finance funding would put you over the £5 million limit of the scheme.

How to apply +

Step 1: Find a lender on the British Business Bank website

View Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders

Step 2: Contact a lender

If your current lender is accredited for CBILS, contact them first. If they aren't accredited, or they won't support you with a loan, contact another accredited lender.

For ease, we recommend contacting your chosen lender online, as not all lenders provide every type of finance available under CBILS and the amount they lend will also vary.

Please check their website to find out whether they offer the type and amount of finance you're looking for.

Step 3: Submit your application

Applications for CBILS vary between lenders. Typically, however, you'll be asked for details about the finance you need, including:

  • the amount you want to borrow
  • the term for making repayments
  • how you'll use the money

You’ll also be asked for supporting information to show evidence that you're able to afford the repayments.

Step 4: The lender makes a decision

The lender decides whether to offer you finance based on:

  • the information you've submitted
  • its lending criteria

If a lender turns you down

If a lender declines your application, you can approach other accredited lenders.

Required information and documents +

Information the lender needs about the loan

  • How much you want to borrow
  • How you'll use the money
  • The length of the loan

Supporting documents you'll be asked to provide

  • Management accounts
  • Business plan
  • Historic accounts
  • Details of assets

What to do if your application is turned down +

Lenders have the authority to decide whether or not to offer you finance. If a lender turns down your application for a CBILS loan, you can apply for finance with other lenders.

If you’re unsuccessful again, there are other forms of finance available to you and your business.

View alternative finance optionsLink opens in a new window

Additional support +

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Visit the CBILS page on the British Business Bank website for further information, including full eligibility criteria, as well as a complete list of lenders.

How to create a strong CBILS application Link opens in a new window

The Business Finance Guide has provided a useful interview with a business adviser on how to make a strong CBILS application.

Other government-funded schemes

Visit the British Business Bank website for detailed information on other government finance schemes for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enterprise Nation – Recovery Advice for Business service Link opens in a new window

Access free support from experts and help your business recover from the impact of coronavirus.

ICAEW – Business Advice Service Link opens in a new window

Use the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales's Business Advice Service to connect with regulated accountants and receive a free initial consultation with no obligation.

FAQs

What types of finance are available and who offers them? Down arrow

CBILS supports a wide range of business finance facilities, including:

  • term loans
  • overdrafts
  • asset finance
  • invoice finance

Note: Not every lender can provide every type of finance listed. CBILS is available through the British Business Bank's accredited lenders.

What fees and interest will I have to pay? Down arrow

There is no guarantee fee for businesses to use CBILS. For the first 12 months, the Government will cover interest and lender-levied fees for the first 12 months after you draw down your facility, via a Business Interruption Payment (BIP).

Interest rates will vary between lenders and will depend on the specific lending proposal. Please speak to your lender, as they will be able to give you full details on what interest rates you'll pay once the BIP has concluded.

Will I need security to get a CBILS-backed loan? Down arrow

Under the scheme, lenders will not take personal guarantees of any form for facilities below £250,000.

For facilities above £250,000, personal guarantees may still be required, at a lender’s discretion, but:

  • they exclude the Principal Private Residence (PPR), and
  • recoveries under these are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the CBILS facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied

For all facilities, including those over £250,000, CBILS supports lending to smaller businesses even where a lender considers there to be sufficient security. Where there is sufficient security available, it is likely that the lender will take such security in support of a CBILS facility.

A borrower’s/guarantor’s Principal Private Residence (PPR) cannot be taken as security to support a personal guarantee or as security for a CBILS-backed facility (but a lender may wish to do so to support a commercial facility alongside the CBILS-backed facility).

What types of businesses is CBILS for? Down arrow

CBILS is designed to support a wide range of smaller businesses (i.e. those with an annual turnover of less than £45 million) across the UK that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Are sole traders/freelancers eligible? Down arrow

Provided that they satisfy the other eligibility criteria for the Scheme, CBILS is open to:

  • sole traders
  • freelancers
  • bodies corporate
  • limited partnerships
  • limited liability partnerships, and
  • any other legal entity carrying out business activity in the UK with:
    • an annual turnover up to £45 million, and
    • business activity operating through a business account operating in any sector [8]

The business must generate more than 50% of its turnover from trading activity.

Is the scheme appropriate for start-ups? Down arrow

Potentially, if your business activity is primarily based in the UK. For early-stage businesses in their first two years of trading, the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme (loans from £500 to £25,000 at interest of 6% per annum) may be more suitable.

Visit the Start Up Loans website for more information.

Which businesses meet the “business in difficulty"/“undertaking in difficulty” criteria? Down arrow

A "business in difficulty" or "undertaking in difficulty" includes:

  • individuals or companies that have entered into collective insolvency proceedings
  • limited companies which have accumulated losses greater than half of their share capital in their last annual accounts (this does not apply to SMEs less than three years old [9])
  • partnerships, limited partnerships or unlimited liability companies which have accumulated losses greater than half of their capital in their latest annual accounts (this does not apply to SMEs less than three years old)
  • where the undertaking has received rescue aid and has not yet reimbursed the loan or terminated the guarantee, or has received restructuring aid and is still subject to a restructuring plan
  • a company which is not an SME where, for each of the last two accounting years, (i) its book debt to equity ratio has been greater than 7.5; and (ii) its EBITDA interest coverage ratio has been below 1.0.

From 30 July 2020, the business in difficulty test does not apply to micro or small businesses. Micro and small businesses are businesses that have fewer than 50 employees and less than £9,000,000 in annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total.

However, to be eligible for the coronavirus schemes, micro and small businesses must not be (a) subject to collective insolvency procedure under national law, or (b) in receipt of rescue aid (which has not been repaid) or restructuring aid (and are still subject to a restructuring plan) at the time they apply for a scheme facility.

New guidance issued on 25 September 2020 allows for the "undertaking in difficulty" assessment to be determined at the date of application for a scheme facility. This means that a business that was an undertaking in difficulty on 31 December 2019 but, at the date of application for a scheme facility, is no longer an undertaking in difficulty will now be (in principle) eligible for the scheme.

View the full CBILS FAQs

Regional support

Enter your postcode to find business support and case studies from businesses within your region. You'll be taken to our interactive map.