What are the banks and government doing to help firms access finance? Part 4: What more is needed?

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Even if you don't believe what the banks and government are doing to help finance will work you have to concede both are making some considerable effort.

So what more needs to be done?

The competitive landscape for SME banking in the UK has not yet had a shake up. We may see the beginnings of this in the government's response to the ICB on Monday. But I think it's likely it won't go far enough.

Developing alternative sources of finance still has some way to go with little sense yet of where the Business Finance Partnership might invest its £1 billion or whether additional actions could help such as extending tax incentives for private equity investors to debt.

There's also a major over-arching issue that hasn't been addressed. For both supply and demand, where are we trying to get to? What does ‘good' access to finance look like? Do we have any idea whether this plethora of activity is even moving us in the right direction?

This last point is important to complement the government's stated ambition in March's Plan for Growth: To make the UK a great place to start, grow, and finance a business.


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