Pickles urges banks to lend to entrepreneurs, not ‘tick boxes’, on visit to West

September 27, 2011

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles this morning called on banks to play a greater role in spurring economic recovery by helping small firms and entrepreneurs.

Give the keynote speech at the West leg of a national roadshow explaining how the UK’s major banks can provide finance for small and medium-sized businesses, he said: "I don't want today's entrepreneurs to come a cropper of tick-box banking when the computer says no.

"I don't want them to say that the banks are an obstacle – they should be a springboard."

With the banks under fire from business organisations for failing to lend to small firms – and so hampering the economic recovery – today’s event gave them an opportunity to show they are open for business and backing local companies.

Part of a national roadshow called Better Business Finance, the event also heard from Angela Knight, chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association. The event, in Bristol, has staged by Business West.

Mr Pickles also spoke – and faced questions from businesses – on a range of topics not all related to banking. He praised the work of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and, to a question on the poor state of rural broadband, hinted at a major announcement on that issue soon from Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Also speaking was law firm Beachcroft's regional senior Michael Bothamley, who chairs the LEP's financial services, professional services and insurance sub-group.

Representatives from Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Santander took part in a panel discussion and were on hand to explain the support they can provide for small and medium-sized businesses. Workshops were staged on issues such as ways to get the finance needed to grow a business and how business mentoring can help. Open surgery sessions with the banks w also being held.

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