The chancellor is set to overhaul his emergency aid scheme for small businesses (SMEs) as companies struggle to access crisis funds, Sky News reports.

Rishi Sunak will announce in the coming days that the requirement for banks to first assess whether SMEs are eligible for their other lending options will be removed.

Sunak and officials have been in talks with the lenders Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS to try and speed up the decision-making processes and channel loans more quickly.

The Treasury has been promoted into action by reports since the scheme was launched that business-owners are being denied loans or forced to use other standard SME loan products.

Under the revamped programme, any viable business with a turnover of up to £45m will be able to access the scheme, which is interest-free and fee-free for the first 12 months.

Companies will still be required to demonstrate that their business is viable going into the crisis, and that they have the ability to repay the loan at the end of the term.

Banks are also understood to have agreed to waive any outstanding demands for personal guarantees on loans up to £250,000.

Any personal guarantees taken on loans above £250,000 will be used to cover the 20% of the loan that the government is not underwriting, according to one official.

Other aspects of CBILS’ structure, including the government guarantee that covers 80% of the lenders’ exposure, are likely to remain unchanged.

Sunak wants to see banks agree to a modest ‘reversion rate’, the interest rate to which loans would revert after the initial 12-month period.

The Treasury is also under pressure to devise a funding solution for thousands of companies which are not eligible for CBILS because they have a turnover above £45m but do not possess an investment-grade credit rating.

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