FSB comment on Project Merlin targets

Commenting on the provisional Project Merlin figures which have been issued today showing that the banks loaned £37.4 billion to small firms – just short of their commitment to lend £38 billion, John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"While it looks like the banks are on course to meet their full year lending commitment, targets do not address the underlying problems in the banking sector where only a handful of banks control the majority of the market. With global economic and financial fears, it should not be about meeting targets but about genuinely helping businesses start-up, grow and invest to help to put the UK recovery onto firmer ground.

"In a recent FSB member survey, of the 20 per cent of small firms that had applied for credit in the 12 months to June, a third have been refused. This has meant that growth opportunities have been missed or delayed for many businesses. The FSB is urging the Independent Commission on Banking to be bold in its recommendations to Government in September and to ensure that increasing competition in the sector is at the forefront of its report – without this, small firms will continue to get a rough deal."


Notes to Editors

1. The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with more than 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk

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Prue Watson: 020 7592 8121 / 07825 125 695 prue.watson@fsb.org.uk
Sara Lee: 020 7592 8113/ 07595 067068 sara.lee@fsb.org.uk