Bank of England Meets SME Delegation

Mark Carney - Image copyright Bank of England 2013A delegation of representatives from the SME sector recently met the Bank of England’s new Governor, Mark Carney, to discuss small business.

The delegation was invited to meet the Bank of England’s new boss after an open letter to Mark Carney was published in June this year, spearheaded by Neil Graham, the CEO of CashFlows.

Fifteen signatories of the open letter, an SME Wish list for New Bank of England Governor, called for the new Governor, who replaced Sir Mervyn King on the 1st of July, to look at the issues affecting UK SMEs.

High on the list of concerns was the lack of finance available to small businesses with the group calling for better signposting of sources of alternative finance for SMEs.

Secondly, there was a call to restore the relationship between bank managers and business customers – there has been an increasing gulf between decision makers at banks and decision makers at small businesses as bank processes have become increasingly less humanised.

Another concern raised by the group was the ever problematic issue of late payments – whilst access to new finance has become difficult for SMEs, so too has been getting the money that they are owed. The 15 signatories have called to make the Prompt Payment Code legally binding.

Forward Guidance

Already Mark Carney has stated that the Bank of England will not consider raising interest rates until the country’s unemployment rate has fallen below 7% – the move was designed to give planners, in business and elsewhere, some "forward guidance" so that any potential interest rate rises are not surprises.

Mr Carney has also been asked to make further impact in his first 100 days in office by meeting with 100 SMEs in those 100 days.

Brian Jack, is4profit’s Managing Director, said of the meeting:

“For the new Governor of the Bank of England to meet with representatives of the small business community so soon after taking office is a positive and welcome move.’

Regarding Mark Carney’s first 100 days and the fact that there are around 4.9 million small firms in business, the is4pofit MD added:

“With small businesses being so important to the UK economy it was very good to see Mark Carney taking a keen interest in the issues which affect them daily’

Mark Carney commented on the meeting by adding:

“I was pleased to meet with a number of start-ups and SMEs to discuss a range of issues they face as well as the potential role of new forms of finance.’

“These companies play a significant role in the UK economy and there is no substitute for hearing directly from those who deliver economic growth.’

Alongside is4profit and Cashflows, other attendees of the SME meeting with Mark Carney included Dan Martin, editor of BusinessZone, representatives from alternative finance vendors – Conrad Ford, Managing Director of Funding Options and Nick Montague, Chief Executive of as well as Adam Ball, of creative connection website Concept Cupboard.

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