MANY Dorset businesses are said to be on a “cliff edge” after it was revealed that just one per cent of firms nationally have successfully accessed a government coronavirus loan.

Fifty-seven per cent of firms had three months of cash, or less, in reserve, while six per cent had already run out of money, according to the latest British Chambers of Commerce weekly Business Impact Tracker.

Thirty-seven per cent were planning to put between 75 per cent and 100 per cent of their workforce on the government-backed furlough scheme over the coming week.

Dorset Chamber is urging firms to apply for all the government funding they can.

Chief executive Ian Girling said: “These results show that some businesses face a cliff-edge scenario.

“We’ve seen a big jump in the number of firms furloughing staff, and many are now starting to apply for access to government loan and grant schemes to keep themselves afloat.

“Yet our research suggests that support is only starting to reach firms on the ground.

“We are pleased that the chancellor is listening and responding to our calls to strengthen the existing support.

“Improvements to the coronavirus business interruption loan (CBILS) scheme should help more businesses get access to the cash they need over the coming days and weeks.

“This could be the difference between survival and insolvency for many firms.”

Mr Girling added: “Support is there for businesses. According to the survey results, the majority of firms know about it but haven’t successfully applied as yet.

“In Dorset, our councils have been moving very swiftly to get support out for businesses, as has the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership.

“We would encourage all businesses to be proactive and consider every single ounce of assistance available.”

The national survey received more than 1,000 responses, including from Dorset.

Businesses said the complexity of the application process and a slow response, or none at all, from the relevant body were among the reasons for loan applications failing. The chambers hope the chancellor’s recent overhaul of the scheme will improve adoption.