Flood-affected companies offered help from banks

Businesses in Hawick are among those affected by the flooding
Businesses in Hawick are among those affected by the flooding
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Flood-hit businesses are being offered help from banks to ease financial pressures on them caused by the disruption.

Customers of Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest in southern Scotland and the north-west of England can benefit from a package of measures such as increased overdraft limits and the waiving of loan arrangement fees.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund, founded by the Prince of Wales, has also released £40,000 of emergency cash to help rural communities, farmers and businesses. It will work alongside the Prince’s Business Emergency Resilience Group – an initiative of Scottish Business in the Community and Business in the Community – to support those affected by the flooding.

£30,000 will be donated to the Farming Help Charities, which will benefit Scottish farmers, while the Cumbria Community Foundation will receive the remaining £10,000.

Director Claire Saunders said: “The full impact of the floods has yet to be realised, but many farms have lost livestock drowned in the flood waters, or been affected by landslips, while feed and equipment has been lost. The repairs to bridges, roads and dry stone walls will be an enormous job.

“This is a catastrophic blow to rural businesses which are already hard pressed. Many will be relying on Christmas trade to turn a profit and we need to act swiftly to help them get back on track. We’re urging farms and rural businesses in trouble in Scotland to ask for help and contact the Farming Help Charities for advice and assistance.”

Lloyds Banking Group said it has set up a £100 million fund to waive arrangement fees on lending for businesses and farmers to help ease cashflow concerns. Customers of RBS/NatWest are also being offered fee-free loans to replace damaged equipment.

Jen Tippin, managing director of Lloyds’ retail business banking arm, said: “Small businesses don’t normally have the cash reserves that larger businesses do, so any interruption to their cashflow can have a significant impact on their ability to survive.”

Les Matheson, chief executive of personal and business banking at RBS and NatWest, said: “We want to help the people and business owners affected by the recent flooding by making banking the least of their worries.

“We would urge our affected customers to get in touch with us to discuss how we can help them get back on their feet.”

• Top RBS lawyer John Collins, who joined the bank as group general counsel in January, has resigned to join Santander next year.