INTEREST-free loans are being offered to businesses in Wales who have been hit hard by the recent bad weather.

NatWest and RBS have launched a £250 million UK Storm Business Fund to provide short term, interest-free financing to speed recovery for businesses affected by recent floods and gales.

Parts of Newport were evacuated last week, as a series of high tides hit Gwent.

Loans are being offered to cover the cost of repairs and replacement stock to help businesses return to normal trading.

Interest-free loans will be provided for three months giving businesses the “breathing space they need to get back on their feet”, according to the banks.

The fund and support package is available for all viable businesses adversely affected, not just existing NatWest or RBS customers.

Haydn Thomas, managing director of business banking for NatWest Cymru, said: “The loss of trade or damage to stock from such a storm can mean businesses find themselves in financial trouble. We’re making additional support available because we know how important it is to the local economy and communities to get these businesses operational again.”

Businesses seeking finance from the UK Storm Business Fund will be subject to a maximum cap of £250k per loan.

Call the UK Storms helpline on 0800 529 8544.