HEXHAM'S MP has welcomed the launch of the government's new Recovery Loan Scheme to support businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

From this week businesses ranging from coffee shops and restaurants, to hairdressers and gyms, can access loans varying in size from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million.

Guy Opperman said the new initiative would make sure local businesses can continue to benefit from government backed finance throughout the remainder of the year.

He added: "The Recovery Loan Scheme is another crucial pillar of support available to businesses here in the Tynedale and Ponteland, alongside the ongoing furlough scheme and the new restart grants.

"It is great news that the easing of restrictions is moving ahead as planned next week and that the vaccine roll out is continuing at pace.

"Let’s all continue to support our local businesses as they begin to re-open and look forward to brighter days ahead."

The scheme, which was announced at the chancellor's budget and runs until December 31, will be administered by the British Business Bank, with loans available through a diverse network of accredited commercial lenders.

Ministers said it can be used as an additional loan on top of support received from the emergency schemes – such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – put into place last year.

To date, the government's emergency loan schemes have supported more than £75 billion of finance for 1.6 million British businesses affected by Covid.