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‘I cannot pay my staff’: Pub landlady says banks not delivering on coronavirus loans

PUBLISHED: 17:23 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:04 02 April 2020

Jeanie Feneron at the Banningham Crown, in happier times. Pic: Archant

Jeanie Feneron at the Banningham Crown, in happier times. Pic: Archant

A Norfolk publican says the banks “aren’t delivering” the government’s coronavirus support loans – leaving her unable to pay staff.

The Banningham Crown. Pic: ArchantThe Banningham Crown. Pic: Archant

Jeanie Feneron, who runs the Banningham Crown, near Aylsham, with husband Mark, applied for the coronavirus business interruption loan as soon as she could on March 23.

But a week later, and with 33 staff wages to pay, she has still not heard from her bank.

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Jeanie Feneron at the Banningham Crown, in happier times. Pic: ArchantJeanie Feneron at the Banningham Crown, in happier times. Pic: Archant

It comes as nearly a fifth of all small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are predicted not to get the cash they need to survive the next four weeks, in spite of government support, according to a new report. It could result in between 800,000 and a million firms nationwide having to close down for good.

Mrs Feneron, who’s been running the pub for 27 years, closed the pub on government guidelines according to coronavirus and launched a takeaway and delivery service in a bid to keep staff – paid weekly – in work. But after government lockdown, she stopped these too.

She furloughed all her staff and paid them all last week as well as for holiday but after being on the phone to her bank, Santander for six hours, she’s still no further forward with getting the loan sorted. And with wages to pay, she’s thinking of delving into some savings.

Jeanie Feneron at the Banningham Crown, in happier times. Pic: ArchantJeanie Feneron at the Banningham Crown, in happier times. Pic: Archant

“We need the funding from the banks, we all remember back in 2008 when the country bailed them out, they need to wake up to the situation. I had an email confirmation after my application and was told I should hear in two-three days but I’ve had nothing and you can’t get them on the phone.

“I feel for my team, all who give their life and their soul to make this business a success and who’ve gone through a very dramatic period, from my chef to cleaners, people who do the washing up, some have very young children. We’ve always been fighters so I’m making a stand on this.

Mrs Feneron has written to local MP Duncan Baker to put more pressure on the banks.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said two weeks ago that businesses would be able to walk into bank branches and discuss loans of up to £5m to help them survive the shutdown.

His promise was that “any good business in financial difficulty who needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a government-backed loan, on attractive terms.”

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