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Research reveals shortage of support for SMEs

RECENT statistics show that 79.9% of UK firms feel that recent government funding initiatives such as Funding for Lending and Project Merlin have not helped their businesses.

Government funding initiatives were developed to help ease financing struggles for businesses throughout the UK. However, despite having a number of different funding options available, with amounts between £1000 to £1million apparently available, the majority of businesses asked saw little or no improvement from the initiatives and felt government could do more to support SMEs.

Region
% who say gov. funding initiative have helped their business
 % who say gov. funding initiatives have not helped their business
UK average
 5.2%
 79.9%
North East
 0%
 75%
North West
 9.1%
 80.3%
Yorkshire & Humberside               
 5.2%
 89.7%
East Midlands
 1.2%
 74%
West Midlands
 9.3%
 66.7%
East Anglia
 2.8%
 77.8%
Greater London
 3.3%
 79.1%
South East
 1.2%
 80.2%
South West
 1.7%
 93.3%
Scotland
 4.3%
 73.9%
Northern Ireland
 11.1%
 77.8%

The findings, from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, also revealed that only 9% of SME owner managers believe the government support small and medium-sized businesses enough whilst a staggering 83% disagree or believe more could be done.

Scottish businesses felt most strongly about the issue, with 52.2% of respondents stating they felt they had received no support whilst statistics show Northern Irish firms were the opposite with only 16.7% feeling a lack of support.

Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance said; “At a time when growth should be encouraged, it is worrying to see that the majority of businesses throughout the UK feel a lack of support from the government.

“SMEs are the foundation of our economy and their growth should absolutely be supported. However, with the lack of confidence in government funding initiatives and traditional forms of lending often hard to secure, businesses need to be reassured that funding is still available,” he added.

The latest Business Barometer also demonstrates that over a quarter of the businesses asked, plan to raise their finance over the next 12 months. Whilst the majority are considering attempting to raise funds through bank loans or overdrafts, surprisingly, only 9.7% plan to do so through asset finance.

“We need to get the message out to businesses in the UK, that asset finance is a flexible and viable method of business funding. Put simply, asset finance allows you to release the value of existing assets in order to boost cash flow. Having immediate access to funding will enable businesses to purchase new equipment and also fund any future plans for growth,” added Mr. Randall.