Lending pledge welcomed

THE coalition government’s latest scheme to boost bank lending to SMEs (small and medium-sized businesses) has received a cautious welcome from a small business lobby group.

Chancellor George Osborne used his annual Mansion House speech in the city of London this month to unveil a joint strategy with the Bank of England to ease the flow of credit into the economy.
The new “funding for lending” scheme will see a reported £80 billion provided to banks to be passed on to customers in the form of loans.
But, with previous schemes to boost lending yielding limited results, including Project Merlin, the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland gave it a guarded welcome.
“While we are pleased the Chancellor has recognised there is still a problem, we hope that this new scheme will deliver results,” said spokesman Stuart Mackinnon.
Ian McDougall, of accountancy firm McDougall Johnstone, told SLTN “any money going into SMEs is good, as long as it flows through”.
News of the coalition’s scheme came shortly before the Scottish Government’s Access to Finance report for 2012 suggested a rise in the number of SMEs successfully applying for finance.