Coronavirus: Chanel and John Lewis among companies tapping Bank of England’s bailout funds

By Becky Bargh 8-Jun-2020

More than 50 companies have been named by the Bank of England to have accessed the loan scheme, which amounts to more than £16bn

Coronavirus: Chanel and John Lewis among companies tapping Bank of England’s bailout funds

Beauty and fashion house Chanel, and John Lewis are among British and foreign companies tapping £16bn of bailout funds from the Bank of England during the coronavirus crisis.

The bank’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) buys short-term debt in the form of a commercial paper and can be accessed by any company that contributes to the UK economy.

The luxury French group is indebted by £600m to the government-backed funding, while the struggling department store chain has a borrowing total of £300m.

Beauty and fashion e-commerce site ASOS has also racked up £100m of debt.

However, cosmetics and personal care chemicals firm BASF has been revealed as the biggest beneficiary of the loan scheme out of 53 companies named.

The German company, which has eight manufacturing sites in the UK, has borrowed £1bn in funds from the Bank of England.

However, despite the effort to keep big brands in business, campaigners have hit back at the government for ‘failing’ to provide a lifeline for SMEs.

In a post in April, campaign group Positive Money stated: “As usual, banks are completely failing in their role to support SMEs by overwhelmingly refusing their loan applications under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

“After a number of missteps, including banks demanding personal guarantees and offering excessively high interest rates, still only a fifth of all loan applications from SMEs across the country have been successful.”

The group also said the ‘no-strings-attached’ nature of the financial support was also a concern.

“Experts and campaigners have emphasised that bailouts for big corporations should come with conditions that benefit workers and the environment,” added Positive Money.

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“CCFF includes nothing of the sort.”

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