FPB: Budget needs to address bank lending

The Forum of Private Business has urged Chancellor George Osborne to acknowledge the issue of bank lending to small businesses in the Budget.


The Forum of Private Business has urged Chancellor George Osborne to acknowledge the issue of bank lending to small businesses in the Budget.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has urged Chancellor George Osborne to acknowledge the issue of bank lending to small businesses in the Budget next week.

The business support organisation welcomed the 15 per cent increase in lending to small companies when it was announced last month as part of ‘Project Merlin’ but reminds Osborne that the wider problem of access to finance remains unresolved.

In its recent Budget submission, ‘A Budget to Get Britain Trading’, the FPB outlined measures to simplify the funding process, making it more transparent, flexible and inexpensive for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to use.

Some of the steps suggested by the organisation include relaxing regulations to allow relationship managers to make decisions about bank lending at a local level and creating a clear timeline for the application process.

The FPB also put forward the idea of a complaints process so that SMEs can object to the rejection of an application for funding.

Following the Project Merlin agreement in February, chief executive of the FPB, Phil Orford, said, ‘It is also vital that the process takes place in the public domain as much as possible and subject to regular scrutiny, as a certain degree of transparency is needed in order to gain the confidence of the business community.’

Chancellor George Osborne will deliver the Budget on 23 March.

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