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Chancellor criticised over business lending "hot air"

Date Added: 21/03/2013  

Chancellor George Osborne has been criticised for failing to unveil measures designed to improve business lending in his Budget address to parliament yesterday (March 20th).

Although some announcements such as a cut in the price of beer and fuel were welcomed by the public, the business world reacted unhappily to a Budget that will not boost levels of growth according to an analysis by the Office of Budget Responsibility.

Responding to comments made by Mr Osborne relating to the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), Paul Aitken, chief executive officer and founder of alternative lender borro, stated it is not enough for the chancellor to promise to take a look at the programme.

The FLS was set up by the government in conjunction with the Bank of England last year, but business lending fell by £2.4 billion in the final quarter of 2012.

"Businesses have waited and waited for more decisive action and it looks like they'll be waiting even longer. Hot air from the chancellor does not put pounds into the bank accounts of the nation's small businesses," said Mr Aitken.

He added that the coalition government has to show that it is able to "walk the walk - and not just talk the talk" relating to business lending.

British Retail Consortium director-general Helen Dickinson also criticised the Budget speech, insisting that the chancellor could have done more to help struggling firms on the high street.

"Freezing rates would have made a real difference to our troubled high streets and the communities that rely on them," she said.

Head of policy for the Forum of Private Business Alex Jackman called for the chancellor to show some longer term certainty over issues such as business rates and fuel in a bid to get the economy moving.

Speaking to fellow MPs in the House of Commons recently, Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier called for the banks to be sold off to boost business lending.

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Posted by Miles Pritchard

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