Business World

Saturday 17 February 2018

British banks RBS and Lloyds to provide £94bn in new business loans

The state-rescued banks RBS and Lloyds will provide £94bn (€105bn) in new business loans over the next year, with nearly half to go to SMEs, British chancellor Alastair Darling said in his budget.

A new credit adjudicator service with legal powers is to be established to fasttrack credit complaints from SMEs, he said.

A new national investment corporation, UK Finance For Growth, will oversee £4bn of financial support for business. This will include a new Growth Capital Fund with a specific role to provide fast growing companies with capital.

Business rates are to be cut for one year from October and the annual investment allowance for small businesses will double to £100,000. Capital Gains Tax remains unchanged but "entrepreneurs' relief" for the tax will double.

A special investment bank with £2bn in capital will be set up to focus on investing in green transport and sustainable energy, in particular offshore wind power. This will be partly funded from the sale of the UK government's stake in the Channel Tunnel.

Michael Hall, managing partner in accountants Ernst & Young's Belfast office said the support for small business was encouraging.

"However, it remains to be seen how accessible and valuable they will be. Rather than trying to reduce the administrative burden, this has the potential to increase the red tape for businesses," he said.

Neil Gibson, special adviser to Ernst & Young's economic forecasting unit said the budget changes should mean an extra £33m of public spending in the North.

Irish Independent

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