Recovery Loan Scheme:
Now Replaced By
‘Growth Guarantee Scheme’

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Applications are now closed for the government-backed Recovery Loan Scheme, but instead you can register your interest for the
Growth Guarantee Scheme

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  • Terms up to 6 years
  • For all types of businesses
  • Funds for any business use
Government-backed finance for small businesses

RLS is now Growth Guarantee Scheme, GGS

The recently closed Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) was a government-backed loan for small businesses intended to provide easier access to finance. Applications for the current scheme closed on 26th June 2024. If you are looking for a cashflow boost or to buy new equipment with government-backed finance, you’ll need to take a look at the Growth Guarantee Scheme.

More About Growth Guarantee Scheme
Formally closed for new applications on 26th June 2024.

What was the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS)?


What was RLS?

The Recovery Loan Scheme was the follow-up to CBILS and Bounceback Loans, instigated by the UK Government to make finance more accessible to SMEs, helping them grow after the effects of the Covid pandemic.

RLS achieved this by offering a 70% government-backed guarantee to lenders. Where a business suffered from disruption to trade during the pandemic the resulting effect on income and balance sheets affected credit profiles. The government guarantee added security for lenders, making them more likely to offer finance to businesses that might not have been able to obtain it otherwise.


What were the key features of Recovery Loans?

  • Finance through Portman from £10,000 to £2,000,000
  • Available to UK businesses with a turnover up to £45m
  • Principal Private Residences cannot be taken as security
  • 70% government-backed guarantee to lenders
  • Competitive fixed and capped interest rates
  • Funds for any legitimate business use
  • No Covid impact assessment required
  • Previous recipients of CBILS or Bounceback could apply
  • Up to 6 year terms
Great news for small businesses

Government-backed finance extended: Growth Guarantee Scheme Launched 1st July 2024


Portman helps businesses secure government-backed loans

Portman Finance Group are one of the UK’s largest independent broker-lenders. Each year we talk to around 20,000 businesses about their finance needs and have helped thousands access government-backed funding.
At Portman we:

  • Are rated Excellent on Trustpilot.
  • Make decisions with real people not algorithms.
  • Can search the market to find the right options for you.
  • Can build tailored packages from multiple lenders to get what you need.
  • Give you a dedicated account manager to guide you through the process.
  • Can get approvals and have funds released in hours not days.
  • Act as a broker with multiple options to find the right deal for your business.
  • Fund most asset types and most businesses and we will look to help even if you don’t have a strong credit history.
Fast and flexible business finance

You can still enquire about government-backed funding

1. Make an online enquiry or call us.
2. Lets chat about your business and goals.
3. We find the right deals, complete applications and get you a no obligation quote.
4. If accepted, funds are released into your account in as little as 24hrs.
Enquire today
According to the British Business Bank website

Although closed, full details on the original Recovery Loan Scheme are below

The Recovery Loan Scheme is administered by the British Business Bank on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business and Trade

The Recovery Loan Scheme aims to improve the terms on offer to borrowers. If a lender can offer a commercial loan on better terms, they will do so. Portman acts as a broker for RLS, giving our customers multiple options.

Key features of the scheme as detailed by the British Business Bank:

  • Up to £2 million per business group: The maximum amount of a facility provided under the scheme is £2 million per business group for borrowers outside the scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and up to £1 million per business group for Northern Ireland Protocol borrowers. Minimum facility sizes vary, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance, and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts;
  • Wide range of products: RLS supports term loans, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance facilities. Not all lenders will be able to offer all products;
  • Term length: Term loans and asset finance facilities are available from three months up to six years, with overdrafts and invoice finance available from three months up to three years;
  • Access to multiple schemes: Businesses that took out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) or RLS facility before 30 June 2022 are not prevented from accessing RLS, but in some instances borrowing under these schemes may reduce the maximum amount the borrower is eligible for;
  • Pricing: Interest rates and fees charged by lenders will vary and will depend on the specific lending proposal. The lender’s pricing will take into account the benefit of the Government guarantee;
  • Personal Guarantees: Personal guarantees can be taken at the lender’s discretion, in line with their normal commercial lending practices. Principal Private Residences cannot be taken as security within the Scheme;
  • Guarantee is to the lender: The scheme provides the lender with a 70% government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the facility after it has completed its normal recovery process. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt;
  • Decision-making delegated to the lender: RLS-backed facilities are provided at the discretion of the lender. Lenders are required to undertake their standard credit and fraud checks for all applicants.

Eligibility criteria as detailed by the British Business Bank

  • Turnover limit: The scheme is open to smaller businesses with a turnover of up to £45m (on a group basis, where part of a group);
  • UK-based: The borrower must be carrying out trading activity in the UK and, for most businesses, generating more than 50% of its income from trading activity;
  • Viability test: The lender must consider that the borrower has a viable business proposition but may disregard (at its discretion) any concerns over its short-to-medium term business performance due to the uncertainty and impact of Covid-19;
  • Business in difficulty: The borrower must not be a business in difficulty, including not being in relevant insolvency proceedings;
  • Subsidy limits: Borrowers will need to provide written confirmation that receipt of the RLS facility will not mean that the business exceeds the maximum amount of subsidy they are allowed to receive. All borrowers in receipt of a subsidy from a publicly funded programme should be provided with a written statement, confirming the level and type of aid received.

Government-backed Finance FAQs

Can I pay my Recovery Loan off early?

You can pay your Recovery Loan off at any time. Your lender can provide you with a settlement fee, which you can then pay directly to them. That’s it. Portman acts as an approved broker for Recovery Loans and not a lender, check your paperwork to find out who your lender is.

Can you have a CBILS and RLS

Yes. Having CBILS, CLBILS, and BBLs does not exclude you from the Recovery Loan Scheme. You can still access RLS, provided you meet the eligibility criteria.

How do I apply for a Recovery Loan?

The eligibility requirements for a Recovery Loan are: a minimum 2 years trading history, a minimum £100k turnover, UK-based in its business activity and adversely impacted by Covid-19. Complete our eligibility form with a few basic details and one of our Account Managers will call you back to discuss your needs. We will ask to you some business documentation, then Portman will complete and submit applications on your behalf.

How does a Recovery Loan compare to other options?

The government backs 70% of a Recovery Loan which means they carry some of the risk should a business default on the loan. As a result, more businesses can access finance and rates can be more competitive. However the actual rate a business is offered can still vary based on individual credit history and trading circumstances. Traditional business loans offer an alternative and in some circumstances may be more suitable. Asset Finance: Hire Purchase or Lease Finance, typically carries a lower risk for the lender because the asset itself acts as security and can be reclaimed by a lender if the borrower defaults on the loan. Typically this means that rates can be lower, particularly for high value assets. Your Portman Account Manager can discuss options with you, depending on your intended purchase, but ultimately the choice as to what’s right for your business is yours.

How long does an RLS facility last?

An RLS facility lasts up to six years for loans and asset finance. Overdraft and invoice finance facilities last up to 3 years.

I thought the Recovery Loan Scheme finished?

The UK Government launched Phase 2 of the scheme on 1st September 2022 and will be closed to further applications from midnight on 30th June 2024. However, RLS is being renamed the Growth Guarantee Scheme with the same terms and being extended until 31st March 2026, following an announcement in the Government’s Spring Budget, with a pledge of £200m in funding.

Is the Recovery Loan Scheme ending soon?

The current iteration of the Recovery Loan Scheme was launched on 1st September 2022 and will be closed to further applications from midnight on 30th June 2024. However, RLS is being renamed the Growth Guarantee Scheme with the same terms and being extended until 31st March 2026, following an announcement in the Government’s Spring Budget, with a pledge of £200m in funding.

What can a Recovery Loan be used for?

Businesses can borrow between £10,000 and £2,000,000. Any investment plans that require funding can be accelerated using a finance product that protects an individual’s Principal Private Residence. Repayment periods are up to 6 years. The loan can be used for any legitimate business purpose including: equipment, vehicles, cashflow, stock, refurbishments, technology and marketing. 

What is the difference between CBILS & a Recovery Loan?

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was a loan scheme for amounts of £50,000 to £5 Million. To be eligible for the scheme required an annual turnover of £200,000. The scheme ended on 31 March 2021. The Recovery Loan Scheme, like the CBILS, offers 2-6 year terms. RLS is for amounts of £25,000 to £10 million. It also has a lower annual turnover requirement – £100,000. RLS is available until 2024.

Why are businesses taking Recovery Loans?

A Recovery Loan carries a government guarantee to the lender of 70% of the outstanding funds. This adds security to the loan because in many cases the government will repay 70% of the loan to the lender should the business default. This security means that lenders are willing to give money to businesses who may previously not have been given finance at the competitive rates offered by the Recovery Loan Scheme. Repayment periods can be up to 6 years, meaning the investment can generate income over the term. The loan can be used for any legitimate business purpose including: equipment, vehicles, cashflow, stock, refurbishments, technology and marketing.


General Enquiries

Do you offer seasonal payment terms? 

Yes, many of our customers naturally experience high demand for their services during certain times of the year as well quieter periods during others. We tailor all finance agreements to the needs of each business, and lower payments can be arranged during periods when there is a predictable reduction in trade.

Do you provide finance outside the UK? 

Unfortunately, Portman can only finance companies registered and operating in the UK.

How long will I be paying back the finance? 

Terms are available between 2 and 6 years. Options available to you may be dependent on the circumstances of your business, but then the final choice is up to you.

Isn’t it cheaper just to go to a lender direct? 

Whilst banks can offer different rates, they often reject certain type of purchase, businesses in different industries and have very strict lending criteria. At Portman we deal with a panel of over 40 lenders as well funding businesses with our own money. We have access to specialist lenders and specialist types of finance, giving a variety of options and a greater chance of success. Portman may have rates that are not available to a customer who goes direct and can also explore the whole lending market in one go, saving you time. We have access to specialist lenders that are not available to individuals and can even put together finance packages from multiple lenders. All of which gives you competitive rates, with a greater chance of acceptance.

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