British government COVID loan guarantees exceed $96bln

Finance ministry said tax data showed 3.8 million jobs were furloughed as of Dec. 31,

  
British Pound Sterling banknotes are seen at the Money Service Austria company's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, November 16, 2017.

British Pound Sterling banknotes are seen at the Money Service Austria company's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, November 16, 2017.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

LONDON - British banks have lent businesses more than 70 billion pounds ($96 billion) under government-guaranteed COVID lending schemes, figures from Britain's finance ministry showed on Thursday.

Lending under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses rose to 44.74 billion pounds as of Jan. 24 from 43.54 billion pounds in mid December, while the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for medium-sized firms saw borrowing rise to 20.84 billion pounds.

Including a third scheme for large companies, total lending rose to 70.72 billion pounds from 68.15 billion pounds.

Separately, the finance ministry said tax data showed 3.8 million jobs were furloughed as of Dec. 31, little changed from the 3.9 million on Nov. 30. ($1 = 0.7327 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce) ((david.milliken@reuters.com; +44 20 7542 5109; Reuters Messaging: david.milliken.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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