ONE THIRD of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to access bank finance, with credit conditions perceived to be worse outside London, a survey claims.
Research by CYBG, owner of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank brands, found 35 per cent of SMEs across the UK have struggled to access bank loans. However, outside the capital and the South East of England, 41 per cent of respondents believe they do not have the same access to finance as businesses located in London.
Meanwhile, nine per cent of all respondents said accessing finance has become either “very difficult” or “almost impossible”.
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Asked what they would use the finance for, 24 per cent plan to hire new staff, 20 per cent would refurbish their premises or invest in infrastructure and 18 per cent would use it for working capital.
The figures come as the lender announced it is making a minimum of £6bn available to SMEs between 2017 and 2019.
“With our rich and longstanding heritage across core regional economies, we recognise the important role local businesses have in forming the backbone of the UK economy, by providing employment and financial security for business owners and their employees,” Gavin Opperman, group customer banking director at CYBG, said.
“Our focus on developing lifelong relationships with our customers through our business banking centres and regional managers means we have developed the expertise to understand the varying challenges businesses face at different stages in their life cycle.”
The move was welcomed by Small Business Minister Margot James.
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“Supporting business to grow is one of the ten pillars of the government’s industrial strategy green paper and we are committed to creating the right conditions for SMEs to thrive as part of our plan to build an economy that works for all,” she said.
“I’m especially pleased to see that 90 per cent of this credit facility is destined for businesses outside London and the South East, with a focus on Yorkshire.”