I BELIEVE that small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the British economy. They provide the majority of private sector jobs in the UK today, and 1.1m SMEs were created under Labour in government.
However, since the financial crisis in 2008 we have seen the lending of money to SMEs from banks fall significantly, and the coalition government is not doing all it can to support them. I am concerned about the impact this is having on our local businesses in Wirral that provide jobs and services in our area.
One of the main reasons I feel business owners are put off from asking for funding from banks is the poor customer service. According to the January 2011 Business Barometer survey, 31% of businesses found the level of support from their bank either ‘fairly unsupportive’ or ‘very unsupportive’ during the past year. Only 5.6% found their bank ‘very supportive’.
I find these figures shocking. Starting a business can be a risk for most people, and when it comes to financial security you need all the support you can get from your bank. This is why it does not surprise me that people have lost confidence in the system in place.
To get an idea of SMEs experiences with accessing finance to help fund their businesses, and as a firm believer banks should make lending funds to SMEs more straightforward, I am sending out a survey to SMEs in the Wirral South constituency asking whether they feel the government and the banks are doing enough to help.
If you are the owner of an SME and wish to let us know what you think, you can fill out this survey on my website at www.alisonmcgovern.org.uk/business-survey, or call my office on (0151) 645 6590 to get more information.