Leading asset finance firm Hitachi Capital Business Finance has set up a multi-million zero percent interest rural emergency fund to support flood stricken rural and local businesses in meeting unforeseen costs.

Gavin Wraith Carter, general manager at Hitachi Capital Business Finance said: “Hitachi Capital has a long-standing involvement in the agricultural and commercial industries and it is important for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with them when they tackle the implications of extreme weather which can put their businesses at risk.

“This feedback from our approved brokers and vendors is that farmers and rural businesses are going to need financial support through this tough and challenging time. We are very aware of how vital cash flow is for many farmers and small business owners, and we want to go beyond the call of duty and be there when they need us, supporting rural businesses in funding unforeseen capital expenditure needs,” he added.

Hitachi has therefore allocated short term funding of £5m to help rural and local businesses that need to replace or invest in equipment that may be required as a result the flooding.

This is the third time Hitachi has offered short term funding to help support businesses through incidents like bad flooding.

Wraith-Carter added: “The full cost of the interest during this period will be covered and in these situations all normal fees will be waived. In the short term we are also able to provide immediate financial assistance where cash flow issues have arisen through a number of solutions, including three month repayment holidays where required.”

Hitachi is also making available further short term solutions to help with existing financial commitments in order to manage cash flow and retain a clean credit history.

Rex Tattersall, director at Rural Finance said: “When rural communities face extreme weather it is important for those that support the community to step forward and make a difference. It is not only the farming community that is suffering in the rural sector. The stress and worry that SMEs operating in flood-stricken areas experience have very real business consequences.

“When your business premises or assets are damaged income streams are severely affected and any help that can be given to to help SMEs get back to full operating strength will be warmly welcomed. Hitachi Capital’s rural emergency fund sets a real example in the market,” he added.