Falkirk East MSP voices frustration as top UK banks fail to reach lending targets to small & medium sized businesses
Monday, 23 May 2011 14:31
“Our small to medium sized firms are being penalised for the banks mistakes”
Newly elected SNP MSP for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald, who is also the SNP’s Economic Development spokesperson at Falkirk Council, has hit out at Britain’s banks for falling short of lending targets for local businesses following the publication of the Bank of England’s quarterly report today.
The quarterly lending data shows that the big 5 UK banks (RBS, HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and Santander UK) are already £2 to £3 billion behind the target of £19 billion in the first three months of this year.
Under the Project Merlin deal signed in December between the UK Government and the UK’s largest banks the big financial institutions agreed to make £190 billion of funding available to businesses this year, of which £76bn should go to small to medium-sized firms.
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“If some of the banks are not meeting their lending targets to small and medium sized businesses then the whole Project Merlin agreement must be re-visited.”
“While it is understandable that some firms have ‘battened down the hatches’ and are avoiding taking on new debt at the moment, those that are in a position to expand must not be hindered by excessively strict lending criteria from the major banks.”
“The major banks still have time to meet their targets and we will be watching further Project Merlin reports closely, however it is imperative that our local SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) must not be penalised any longer for the banks mistakes”.