Ministers confirm farmers can now apply for government-secured credit

The Government has confirmed that growers and farmers can apply for £1.3bn worth of funds to tide them over a current scarcity of credit that poses a critical risk to businesses.

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme was launched in January, but the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform did not specify whether farming was included.

The NFU said last week that its lobbying caused a change in tack on the scheme, which supports lending to firms with up to £25m turnover that are unable to get the credit they need.

Businesses can secure loans of £1,000 to £1m through a government guarantee to lenders, which is available until 31 March 2010.

The guarantee can be used to support new loans of between three months and 10 years' maturity or to refinance existing loans that are at risk due to the deteriorating quality of security.

Farmers can apply for up to around £50,000, said the NFU, whose recent credit-crunch survey found 5.5 per cent of farmers felt credit was a critical risk.

The NFU is keen to monitor businesses using the scheme. Contact

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