The FT has finally noticed that business across the UK is failing. In an editorial out today it says:
Despite the good intentions of governments in the US and the UK, many midsized businesses are struggling to access the emergency loan schemes that have been made available. Owners report delays in receiving loan approval. Others say they have been turned down by their banks as they have no borrowing history with them.
Not enough of the rule book has been torn up. Governments have chosen to use commercial banks as the conduits for the rescue funds. This has thrown up the usual caveats associated with commercial lending, such as high interest rates and demands for personal guarantees. These have frustrated progress early on. These schemes are laudable but worth little if companies do not have the tools to access life-saving funds.
And it concludes:
Policymakers need to cut through the bureaucracy and go further in their guarantees. Grants, rather than loans, should be considered. Getting the right support to businesses of all sizes is critical if they are to have any hope of surviving the next few months. Even if the bill for governments looks high, it will be nothing compared with the economic cost of unprecedented mass unemployment and depression that would be inevitable if businesses are not protected in the short term.
The conclusion is right. But there is an issue to consider and that is why is the general level of business comprehension at the FT so low that it has taken them a month to say this when the weaknesses in the government's schemes were apparent the moment that they were announced? They should have done much better than this.