RBS offers interest-free loans to firms hit by riots

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Media captionPeter Ibbetson from RBS: "We're determined to help businesses get up and running on the High Street"

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is offering financial support to small firms that were affected by last week's rioting.

RBS and its NatWest subsidiary will provide six-month interest and fee-free loans of up to £25,000 to its small business customers who were directly affected.

HSBC and RBS's other rivals have also offered help to firms.

The government, too, is helping retailers who had their shops damaged.

It is doing this by making such firms temporarily exempt from paying council tax or business rates.

Chris Sullivan, chief executive of NatWest and RBS Corporate Banking, said: "These small local businesses are the backbone of our neighbourhoods, so it is vital we do all we can to get them trading again as soon as possible.

"By offering interest-free and fee-free loans, RBS and NatWest business customers can start their recovery today.

"This will help many firms who will now not have to wait for financial support from either the government or their insurance company."

A spokesman for HSBC said it was doing all it could to help.

He added: "Where we know of customers in affected areas, we are pro-actively contacting them to understand and start working to resolve any problems."

A Lloyds Banking Group spokesman said: "We have put in place a range of measures to help businesses get the funding they need - and we have not put a cap on this support.

"Since last week we have been working to respond to requests for funding from customers that have been hit by the riots.

"We have made it clear that we will offer repayment holidays on loans where premises have ceased trading because of fire damage, additional overdraft facilities to replace looted stock, and extra finance for businesses - such as suppliers - that have been indirectly impacted and where cash flow could be a problem."

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