The NFU, alongside the HTA, the CLA and RHS, and wider industry, has been engaging with Defra and the financial services sector to explain the difficulties growers have found with the CBILS scheme in order to overcome these challenges.
Many growers have struggled to engage with the scheme due to the short payback period of six years which for many businesses makes the loan unserviceable and therefore unviable, and state aid cap which effectively halves the total loan amount available to £2.5m. The NFU has been calling for an extension of the repayment period to at least 10 years and removal of the state aid cap.
The NFU is encouraged to see that many of the banks have worked with their product teams to develop flexible solutions to help overcome these concerns. These are bespoke packages, which are being handled on a case by case basis, and include such measures as flexible amortisation or combining lending products. These systems vary between banks and are not universally available.
This approach from the financial sector is very welcome as it does represent the potential for individual businesses to have better access to the CBILS scheme, and therefore growers are encouraged to speak to their banks to find out if such options are available to them.
The NFU would encourage growers to have follow-up conversations with their banks to further discuss their needs to identify solutions on case-by-case basis, and would welcome feedback on the outcomes.
This will help to support our efforts as we continue to engage with government and the financial sector on the challenges facing the horticulture sector.
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