To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support businesses unable to access Government schemes such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan due to Sharia law restrictions on taking interest bearing loans.
The Government is committed to financial inclusion and the principle that no UK customer should be denied access to competitive financial products because of their faith.
The Government’s priority in designing support schemes for businesses has been to help as many people as possible as quickly as possible. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme does not currently have any Sharia-compliant accredited lenders, but those that wish to become accredited can do so through contacting the British Business Bank. We continue to listen and meet with finance providers, keeping all policies under review, to ensure they remain fit for purpose. We also welcome varied feedback to identify issues that need to be addressed in policy design and coverage.
Sharia compliant businesses have been able to access Sharia compliant finance through the Government-backed Start Up Loan scheme. They have also been able to apply for support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help them retain employees, as well as benefit from other support measures such as business rates relief and deferral of VAT payments.