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NEWS & VIEWS SPICE BUSINES S LENDING BOOST FOR SMES


SMALL and medium sized businesses (SMEs) struggling to access finance received a boost recently, as


the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, launched the first phase of the new business bank. A total of £300 million will be invested alongside private investors to address long-standing gaps in the SME finance market. The focus is on promoting greater diversity of debt


finance available to SMEs by encouraging the growth of smaller lenders and new entrants in the market. Investments will be made via new and existing lending channels on a commercial basis. New research by the National


Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) highlights the fact that SMEs have been disproportionately affected in their ability to access finance as a result of the contraction in bank lending since 2008. Mr Cable said: “Small and medium sized businesses are still telling me that access to finance is their number one


problem, preventing them from investing and growing. That’s why through the business bank we are developing a range of measures to provide businesses with the power to choose the type of finance that suits them.” Applicants wishing to submit proposals can find more information about the application process, together with guidance, on the website: www.gov.uk/ investment-programme-to- encourage-lending-to-smes. The application process is open until midday on 28 February 2014; however applicants are encouraged to submit an expression of interest before midday on 22 May 2013. n


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