The taxpayer has backed a staggering £68.2billion in emergency loans to keep businesses afloat through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Treasury's lifeline loan schemes, which carry a Government guarantee, encouraged banks to quadruple their business lending in 2020 as desperate firms rushed to borrow cash.
Banks have lent out a combined £24.6billion under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the larger CLBILS to 83,293 firms. These loans carry an 80 per cent Government guarantee.
On top of that, lenders have handed out an enormous £43.5billion in Bounce Back loans to more than 1.4m of the country's smallest businesses.