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Many small businesses looking to expand can hit a brick wall when it comes to trying to raise business finance from traditional lenders like the high street banks. The government’s new initiative to address this problem recently reported a promising beginning.
The government’s new matchmaking scheme to help small businesses access finance – the bank referral scheme – was introduced in November 2016. Briefly, it requires the UK’s largest banks to suggest a next move to the small businesses they turn down.
The idea is that the details of these businesses are circulated to four finance platforms, who can put them in touch with alternative finance providers. Figures recently released by the Treasury suggest that the scheme has proved good news for some 230 small businesses.
‘Over the past 9 months, 230 small businesses from beauticians to forklift truck training companies, which were rejected for loans by some of the UK’s biggest banks, have gained £3.8 million from alternative lenders,’ the Treasury reports.
The British Bankers’ Association publishes a useful factsheet ‘Understanding Bank Lending Referrals to Finance Platforms’ which sets out eligibility criteria and the process involved - goo.gl/DUQuHw
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Government borrowing fell to £7.8 billion in December 2023 giving Chancellor Jeremy Hunt more scope to make the tax cuts he has hinted at in the Spring Budget.
Tax cut promises may need to be scrapped as a result of the UK being in an 'unfortunate economic and fiscal bind', the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.
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