Positive signals for region’s businesses

BANKS in Scotland have been more willing recently to lend to small and medium-sized businesses with 87 per cent of firms reportedly able to access the full amount of funds they applied for, up from 79% in 2009 and 2010.

“The fact that more small and medium size businesses are successfully applying for finance is a signal that the health of the sector is further improving,” said South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse (SNP).

“With SNP measures such as the flagship Small Business Bonus scheme, Scotland has far and away the most supportive environment for small businesses in the UK. The Scottish Government provides relief on business rates worth more than £500 million every year.

“The small business bonus scheme has saved Scottish Borders businesses £13.7 million over the last four years, with the annual saving having risen to £4.2 million by 2011/12.

“These figures are extremely positive and clearly demonstrate that we are using the powers we currently hold effectively.”

Borders MP Michael Moore is backing UK Government moves to clampdown on excessive executive pay and increase lending to small businesses.

He said: “There has clearly been a disconnect between pay and performance in large UK-listed companies, and I am pleased that the Government is now acting to address this market failure.

“While the Government wants to crack down on excessive pay, we also want to support smaller businesses, struggling to get funding because the banks refuse to lend.

“This is why I welcome the funding for lending scheme which will make more funding available for businesses.

“I look forward to firms in the Borders benefiting from this scheme so they can expand and provide the jobs we need locally.”