BOSSES have welcomed the formation of a Business Finance Taskforce and Better Business Finance Campaign to help small and medium businesses get better access to cash.
The Federation of Small Businesses and North West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce – both based on Blackpool Business Park off Squires Gate Lane – have given their backing to the initiatives, which includes a £2.5bn growth fund and the provision of mentors to help businesses expand.
The finance campaign, set up with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC and Santander will also act as a semi-independent ombudsman for businesses refused a loan.
Although formed by the Government and all of the major banks, the body promises to give those appealing their rejection an independent judgement which could overturn the decision.
The Chamber’s Hugh Evans (left) said: “We’re pleased the Business Finance Taskforce has recognised the banks can, and must, do more to help small and medium businesses.
“It is absolutely essential the service provided to business customers is improved, so that they can swiftly secure the financing they need to invest, grow and drive the recovery.
“The Business Growth Fund will be welcomed by the minority of the Fylde coast’s small and medium businesses seeking equity investment.
“But we need to remember many businesses are not seeking equity investment – so the improvement of lending processes and business-bank relationships must be the focus of any reform effort.
“Time is of the essence. The faster these reforms are implemented by the banks, the faster confidence will return to the companies that will drive the UK’s economic recovery.”
And Steve Pye of the Federation added: “We welcome the formation of the task force and hope it will help small businesses access the finance and the help they need.
“Promoting and marketing businesses can be just as important as the financial side of things. Hopefully the criteria for qualification for funds is there so that it is open for business.