Government urged to find new way of financing SMEs
By Melanie Defries Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Fewer than one in 10 firms who have applied for credit over the past year secured amount the requested amount, according to research by Bibby Financial Services.
The survey of 1,000 UK SMEs found just 9% of businesses applying for external funding received the amount they applied for, while almost a third were unable to secure any finance.
Alongside access to finance, the rising cost of fuel was found to be a major problem for small firms, with a third reporting that fuel hikes have restricted cash flow and lead to business instability. This was closely followed by the level of taxation, which 27% thought was a major problem, and the impact and cost of employee rights which was cited by 17% of respondents as major hindrance.
Of those surveyed, 58% believed the coalition government was failing to provide an environment that fosters growth while a quarter called for a reduction in red tape to stimulate activity.
Bibby Financial Services commercial director Edward Winterton said the results were further proof that government initiatives aimed at boosting lending had so far failed to work.
"Over the past few years, we have seen a raft of different funding schemes and initiatives introduced, such as Project Merlin and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme. However, none have delivered real and lasting benefits to the small business community," he said.
Earlier this month it was revealed that the government’s flagship National Loan Guarantee Scheme, which was launched just five months ago, had been sidelined in favour of another new initiative, the Funding for Lending Scheme.
The Bank of England admitted in its inflation report for August that banks may use the Funding for Lending scheme to make profit rather extend lower lending rates to borrowers, prompting calls for the government to explore new methods of financing businesses.
Winterton said: "The new Funding for Lending Scheme aims to make cheaper loans more readily available for small businesses, but the government’s insistence to channel funding streams through the banks must be brought into question.
"With so many businesses unable to obtain the level of funding they require, how can the government call on them to be the drivers of growth within the UK economy?"Tweet
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