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New report highlights banks and other private sector institutions have to do more to help SMEs…

Submitted by on November 21, 2013 – 8:31 am |

Steve Pateman - Santander UK - New report highlights banks and other private sector institutions have to do more to help SMEs growNEW REPORT CALLS FOR PRIVATE SECTOR ACTION TO UNLOCK THE GROWTH POTENTIAL OF SMEs

New report highlights banks and other private sector institutions have to do more to help SMEs grow

Welcomes Government interventions, but finds private sector solutions are key to unlocking growth, for instance by helping businesses to access sources of alternative finance and providing greater guidance for exporters

Says Government can also do more by simplifying support schemes, advice and taxation to reduce the burden on SMEs

The private sector must do more to help strong, smaller British businesses to develop or accelerate their plans for growth if the UK is to achieve a sustainable economic recovery, according to a new report published by Dods and sponsored by Santander UK.

The report, Growth Britain: Unlocking the potential of our SMEs, highlights that the banks and other private sector institutions need to support small businesses in five key areas – encouraging exports; access to the appropriate kind of finance; the guidance and support available in the market; access to the right skills; and the tax and regulatory environment. This follows a five-month research project which brought together the views of SMEs from across the country with those of policymakers from the three main national parties.

Among the key recommendations in the report are for banks to do more to raise awareness of, and increase confidence in, the sources of alternative finance that exist in the market; and for the private sector to do more to help SMEs reach new export markets.

Steve Pateman, Head of UK Banking at Santander UK, said:  “While Government interventions in the SME sector are generally to be welcome, this report puts the emphasis back onto the private sector to find market-based solutions.

“Santander UK understands the importance of using our networks and our knowledge to help customers realise their business ambition. Whether this is by using our knowledge of emerging markets to help customers make the first steps to exporting, or whether it is using our local networks to refer a business on to an alternative finance provider, this is exactly the kind of support which the SME market needs to flourish”

The report also makes recommendations for actions the Government can take to remove some of the barriers which might be holding back SME growth potential. These include ensuring trade services are permitted inside the ring-fence under the Banking Reform Bill; simplifying the tax system for SMEs; and examining further ways to make the procurement process more applicable to smaller firms, including means of reducing the cost of compliance.

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