State aid: Commission approves UK schemes to support SMEs affected by coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved two separate UK State aid schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The schemes were approved under the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020. The UK notified to the Commission two separate aid schemes. The UK will set up the so called “Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme” (CBILS) which will provide respectively: (i) under the first support scheme, guarantees that cover 80% of loan facilities for SMEs with a turnover of up to GBP 45 million (approximately € 49 million) to cover their working and investment capital needs. This scheme will be implemented through the British Business Bank, a national promotional bank; (ii) under the second support scheme, direct grants to support SMEs affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The overall budget for this scheme is GBP 600 million (approximately € 654 million). The beneficiaries of the schemes are SMEs active in all market sectors having temporary financial difficulties due to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission concluded that the measures are necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. The full press release is available online.