MP’s Business Surgery

Last month Councillor Emma Faramarzi organised what turned out to be a very successful event on behalf of the Federation of Small Businesses in Swindon and the two local MP’s Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland.

The event was much in demand and although it was decided the venue would only comfortably accommodate 30 delegates, Emma allowed 40 people to register ( though she was sure that it could have comfortably got 60-70 to attend had it been possible to seat them all )

The main topic of discussion was the Better Business Finance Initiative.

A strong and growing business sector is crucial to economic recovery, to job creation and to the UK’s future prosperity. This requires viable businesses to have access to secure and sustainable funding to help you set up and expand.

Since the onset of the financial crisis, the issue of the availability of bank finance for small businesses has become a matter of both importance and controversy. On the one hand, there has been much comment that the banks are not lending enough; that the lending is conducted at rates that are too high and that the banks are turning down loan requests for viable businesses. At the same time, banks have seen a steady decline in the demand for loans and a steep increase in the cost of wholesale funding, upon which much of their lending depends.

In response, the UK’s six largest banks (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Santander and Standard Chartered) decided to examine how they could help the economy return to sustainable growth by supporting businesses. The Business Finance Taskforce was created to analyse the facts, create momentum and ensure money is lent prudently and fairly to support the economic recovery without initiating another credit surge.

In its final report in October 2010, the Business Finance Taskforce committed to 17 recommendations intended to add further momentum to existing initiatives to improve banks’ relationships with business, ensure better access to finance and promote understanding of the needs of business customers.

Among the Taskforce’s recommendations was the creation of a one-stop-shop website for businesses in which they could get impartial information about how to secure finance and the best options for their business. BetterBusinessFinance.co.uk is our response to this recommendation and will also be an online hub for the other resources being created as the Taskforce recommendations are taken forward, including the launch of a new appeals process for businesses who are dissatisfied with their lending decision, a series of regional events and, later in the year, a nationwide Business Mentoring scheme.

A nice write up by The Link Magazine can be found here :

http://www.swindonlink.com/news/swindon-mps-host-national-business-roadshow

The Swindon branch of the FSB would like to extend its thanks to Lyn Chapman, Centre Manager for Basepoint Business Centre in Swindon for kindly donating a wonderful venue and a light lunch. More information about Basepoint can be found here http://www.basepoint.co.uk/swindon-centre.htm

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