Banks launch £250m finance scheme to help storm-hit businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk

Lowestoft Storm Floods.London Road South.

Lowestoft Storm Floods.London Road South. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Weather-ravaged businesses can claim a slice of a £250m finance scheme to help them bounce back from the Norfolk and Suffolk storms.

Natwest and RBS have launched the UK Storm Business Fund to provide short term, interest free, funding to speed up the recovery both in the region, and across the country.

The loans, which will be provided for three months and are available to all viable businesses, have been designed to help firms with repairs or replace damaged stock.

It comes as some businesses in the region are still waiting for a payout from their insurance companies to redress the damage caused by the surging flood waters and high winds.

Steve Wakelin, regional managing director for NatWest business banking, said: 'As the UK's biggest business bank we know cashflow is critical for businesses. Many firms will have taken a real hit to their livelihoods as a result of this prolonged period of adverse weather.

'The loss of trade or damage to stock from such a storm can mean businesses find themselves in financial trouble. We're making additional support available because we know how important it is to the local economy and communities to get these businesses operational again.'

In addition to the storm fund, the banks have also launched a number of emergency measures, including: repayment holidays on existing small business loans; temporary credit card limit increases; waiving of early withdrawal fees and termination costs for customers wishing to access deposits and fast-track requests for temporary overdraft increases.

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In the wake of the winter storms, Norfolk's tourism chiefs stressed the need for businesses to recover quickly in order to recoup any lost winter trade.

Aviva said it had drafted in extra staff to deal with the high number of calls linked to the bitter weather conditions, which centred around broken roofs and aerials, flood damage and smashed glass.

The EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft EDP Flood appeal has raised more than £100,000 thanks to the generosity of its readers.

To donate to the EDP Norfolk and Lowestoft Flood Appeal, send cheques made payable to EDP Flood Appeal and sent to Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

• Businesses affected by the adverse weather should contact their relationship manager or call the UK Storms helpline on 0800 529 8544.

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