The fund will be open from today, and businesses can apply through Lloyds Banking Group’s network of Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland branches and business centres.

The fund is designed to support the working capital needs of small businesses and farmers in the affected areas and will allow them to apply for lending free of arrangement fees, to help with cashflow shortages caused by the floods. This support package will help businesses manage their way through the current conditions, for example by helping farmers fund food and shelter for livestock or small businesses to pay employees whilst they get their businesses up and running again.

Gareth Oakley, Managing Director, SME Banking, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commenting on the support packages launched today said: “We know how critical it will be for businesses affected by the floods to receive support with their cashflow, to help them through interruptions to their business, or to provide additional working capital to repair damage caused by Storm Desmond. The measures launched today will ensure famers and small businesses have the financial support they need to get themselves back on track.”

Jen Tippin, Managing Director, Retail Business Banking, said: “Small businesses don’t normally have the cash reserves that larger businesses do, so any interruption to their cashflow can have a significant impact on their ability to survive. By supporting our small business customers during this difficult time, we hope we can help as many businesses as possible to get back on an even keel as quickly as possible and to continue trading during the busy Christmas period.”

This announcement is in addition to a range of support already being provided by the Group, for businesses and individuals across the affected regions. To support impacted personal customers the Group has been providing emergency payments and offering alternative accommodation where it is needed, as well as relocating specialist staff from other parts of the country.  In addition, the Group’s General Insurance business has redeployed specialist staff and sent its emergency response unit to affected areas, to help customers with their insurance claims and to offer practical support on the ground.