United Kingdom

George Osborne's family business borrows £4million in taxpayer-backed loans to survive the pandemic 

George Osborne's family business has borrowed more than £4 million in taxpayer-backed loans to survive the pandemic.

Osborne & Little, the upmarket wallpaper and furnishings firm co-founded by the former Chancellor's father, baronet Sir Peter Osborne, has borrowed £3.6 million from its bank through the coronavirus 'business interruption' loan scheme. 

The loan is underwritten by the Government, meaning taxpayers would pick up the bill for up to 80 per cent of the debt if Osborne & Little was unable to repay the money. 

George Osborne's family business has borrowed more than £4 million in taxpayer-backed loans to survive the pandemic. Pictured: Osborne with David Walliams and David Furnish

The company also has made 'full use' of the Government's furlough scheme, asking the taxpayer to fund the wages of 'a significant proportion' of its 153 staff.

The company also borrowed $846,000 (£618,000) through the US government-backed Paycheck Protection Program loan scheme in America. George Osborne, 49, became a non-executive director last July. 

The firm made a £542,000 pre-tax loss in the year to the end of March 2020 after sales fell six per cent to £29.1 million. Sales in the US, its biggest market representing 56 per cent of overall sales, fell two per cent to £16.3 million.

The company also has made 'full use' of the Government's furlough scheme, asking the taxpayer to fund the wages of 'a significant proportion' of its 153 staff. Pictured: Osborne in 2013

Before the company took out the loans, directors had warned there was 'material uncertainty' over the firm's ability to continue as a going concern and called the Covid-19 crisis 'an unprecedented economic shock'.

But they say they are confident the firm will return to profit over the 12 months to March 2021.

Osborne & Little did not respond to a request for comment.

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