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Funding concerns stifling growth for UK firms

FOUR in ten UK firms plan to seek funding for business growth during the next 12 months, but of that number more than half are concerned that their request for bank lending will be turned down, according to results of the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer.

The quarterly survey, which canvasses the opinion of SME owners from a variety of sectors across the UK, further revealed that many UK business owners are unsure as to how to fund plans for growth.

Over a third of business owners surveyed admit their knowledge of funding sources other than the conventional could be better, whilst a further 15 per cent are completely unaware of any alternatives to bank lending.

CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance, Mike Randall said: "It is encouraging to see that so many UK firms have plans to invest in their business, but to make these plans a reality firms need to have the necessary working capital required for growth.

"For many, accessing finance can seem like a daunting task if they perceive that banks aren't willing to lend and applications are likely to be turned down. However, our findings would seem to suggest that firms are not being pro-active enough when it comes to financial planning and many are failing to seek appropriate alternatives to bank lending."

The Business Barometer highlighted that access to cash is still a major challenge for many UK businesses; with 12 per cent of business owners surveyed claiming it is crippling their business.

Mr Randall added: "We would urge businesses to widen their search and consider other means of funding to help them achieve their potential. Business owners need to explore the broad range of financial solutions available to them.

"Over the last few years, asset finance has become increasingly popular, however there is still a lack of awareness surrounding it that may be holding UK firms back from realising their growth aspirations.

"Asset finance is a flexible form of funding that allows firms to unlock the capital tied up in their existing assets so that it can be used to facilitate their expansion strategy."