Scheme will be backdated to October last year

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has widened the government’s £5bn trade credit insurance scheme, allowing more firms to purchase top-up cover.

Since 1 May companies that have had their credit insurance cover reduced have been able to purchase six months top-up cover.

But Mandelson said this week that eligibility for the scheme would be backdated to include suppliers that had reduced cover from 1 October last year. Previously, the scheme was only available to companies who had cover reduced from April this year.

The government also said it would consider offering insurance for companies whose protection had been withdrawn.

CBI Director-General Richard Lambert said: “This change gives more help to those businesses left vulnerable. Restoring confidence is critical to improving the economy, and this gives companies more certainty about their ability to trade.”