Struggling SMEs Apply for European Bank Funding

European Investment BankSmall firms struggling to access finance should apply for funding through the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) finance scheme, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged.

Introduced in the 2008 Pre-Budget Report, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said that UK small firms could benefit from up to £4 billion of EIB finance until 2011.

According to the latest HM Treasury figures, £700 million of EIB funding has been allocated to nearly 3,000 small firms to date. Any business with fewer than 250 employees is eligible to apply for funding. Firms access the funds via national banks, which lend the finance on a matched fund basis.

“We welcome the news that so many small firms have benefited from low cost EIB loans,”

said FSB national chairman, John Wright.

“Tracking research by the FSB shows that credit conditions for small businesses continue to stabilise, with more requests for credit being accepted.”

“Further promotion of EIB loans will continue to help the smallest firms through the recovery.”

According to HM Treasury, banks that are, or have been, involved in this scheme include Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, Close Brothers, Lloyds TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland (including NatWest), Santander UK and Ulster Bank.

“Support for small firms is key to driving growth in the UK, so am I delighted that small businesses are benefiting from this finance,”

said HM Treasury’s economic secretary, Ian Pearson.

“I want to encourage all businesses to get in touch with their local banks to find out if they can get access to this funding ― it’s an easy process and certainly worth pursuing.”

For more information about the finance scheme, visit the EIB website www.eib.org/about/news/eib-loan-for-smes.htm

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