Wed 3rd Jul 2013
Extending Funding for Lending welcomed but Northern Ireland issue remains
The government and the Bank of England have confirmed the extension of the Funding for Lending scheme and its widening to include more types of business finance. Commenting, Ann McGregor MBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The extension and widening of the Funding for Lending scheme (FLS) shows that the Chancellor and the Bank of England are listening hard, and acting to address continued business frustration around tight credit conditions.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s determination to look at ways to make Funding for Lending work for businesses, many of whom still feel frozen out from access to finance. Widening the types of business finance covered by the scheme and improving the incentive to lend to SMEs are two very positive steps. Much will depend on lenders’ appetite for risk, and we will have to wait and see whether these new measures help get credit flowing to growing businesses – and not just “safe bets”.
“However the Chamber supports the recent Economic Advisory Group’s view that national initiatives to improve the level of bank lending to business such as the FLS are not working effectively in Northern Ireland. Not all Northern Ireland based banks have had immediate access to the FLS Scheme which creates an unfair advantage in the short-term at least.”