Getting Back on Track After the Floods

It wasn't the best start to the New Year for many people. The bad weather had caused misery over Christmas and continued since. The environment agency published advice to businesses but even their recommended protection procedures did not save many small entities.

Storms affected many small businesses in the south of England. Many have been flooded out, losing stock and trade, with premises and equipment needing repair or replacement. Insurance claims take time and not much can be done in the meantime without cash to get things going. Others have simply taken a hit because no one was inclined, or was able, to venture out to buy or do business.

Bank Help Offered to All

If you have suffered setbacks because of the recent horrendous storms, you could get some financial help for your recovery. NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have set up a fund of £250 million - the UK Storm Business Fund - so they can offer loans that will be interest free for three months to businesses that have been adversely affected, whether or not they are already customers. The loans will be awarded on a first come first served basis. You just have to have a reasonable credit rating and be over 18 to qualify. Call 0800 529 8544 to request their help.

Bank Help for Customers

If you are already a NatWest or RBS customer, you may be able to get other temporary benefits, because the bank is relaxing requirements in a number of areas as an emergency measure. You might be allowed a temporary overdraft increase or credit card limit extension. Early withdrawal fees and termination costs could be waived if you want to access money held in an account where these would normally be applicable. You could even be given a holiday on your current small business loan. It's worth having a discussion with your bookkeepers about which options would be most advantageous for you.

Chris Sullivan is CEO Corporate Bank for NatWest and RBS. He said: 'Many firms will have taken a real hit to their livelihoods as a result of this prolonged period of adverse weather. The loss of trade or damage to stock from such a storm can mean businesses find themselves in financial trouble…It's important to the local economy and communities to get these businesses operational again.'

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