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Saturday 22nd December 2012 | 10:00
Scottish National Party press release
Concerns about the UK’s disengagement from the EU have been raised following the revelation that no UK businesses have benefitted from a €1.2 billion pot of European finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
The ‘Access to Finance’ programme sees the EU provide funds to guarantee loans to SMEs made by financial institutions across Europe, improving the finance options that are on offer to such businesses. However, no UK based financial institution has participated in the scheme to date, preventing SMEs in the UK from benefitting. The six-year funding pot is due to come to an end next year – with not a penny having been spent in the UK – and discussions about the next round are now taking place.
Accessing finance is regularly cited as one of the biggest problems facing businesses, raising questions as to why the UK Government has not actively encouraged financial institutions to participate in the programme.
Chic Brodie MSP raised his concerns over the inability of SMEs to benefit from the improved finance in the Scottish Parliament recently and has called on the Westminster Government to reveal whether any discussions on the funding have ever taken place with UK financial institutions.
Commenting, SNP MSP Chic Brodie said:
“Provoking hostility and disengagement from the EU is one of Westminster’s favourite pastimes, but serious questions need to be asked when businesses are losing out.
“The Westminster Government needs to come clean on whether it has even discussed this funding stream with any UK financial institution, let alone encouraged them to participate.
“Small businesses are struggling to get access to the finance they need to grow and develop, yet no UK financial institutions are taking part in a programme that could help get funds to SMEs.
“If there are funds available that can boost small businesses then it seems to be only common sense that it should be accessed.
“The Scottish Government has worked hard to boost our SME sector through measures such as the small business bonus and it would be extremely frustrating if Westminster has put its antagonism ahead of doing its bit to support the sector.”