Ritchie Says New Business Bank Must Deliver to Local Firms
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has urged the UK Government to do more to support small and medium sized businesses.
Speaking about the newly created Business Bank, Ms Ritchie said: “The establishment of the Business Bank shows that the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills acknowledge that the difficulty in accessing financing is a major barrier to the establishment of new firms and is restricting the growth of existing businesses.
“Today’s report from the British Banker’s Association shows that banks have cut lending in all but 22 of the UK’s postcode areas with more than 80% of areas experiencing a cut. The message coming loud and clear from local business is that access to finance is their number one problem.
“While I was happy to receive assurances from Vince Cable’s Department that businesses in Northern Ireland would have access to the Business Bank, there are concerns that it will do little more than buttress existing programmes and fall short of providing the larger stimulus needed to get our local businesses moving forward and creating jobs again. That the British Chambers of Commerce have stated that ten times the amount of funding is needed suggests that the new Bank is a sticking plaster on a broken arm.
“Quantitative Easing has pumped money into the banks but there is very little indication that this has reached the real economy to support our local businesses who are trying to expand and to encourage angel investors that will support tomorrow’s success stories,” said Mr Ritchie.