The U.K. government should bring its range of funding plans for small and medium-sized businesses into a unified program to maximize results, the National Audit Office said in a report.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s government and the Bank of England have sought to spur lending to businesses after the financial crisis led to a credit freeze. Cameron is aiming for private-sector hiring to offset cuts in public-sector jobs required by his austerity program and to help power Britain’s burgeoning economic recovery.
“Access to finance is a significant and enduring problem for many small and medium-sized businesses,” Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, the government’s spending watchdog, said in an e-mailed statement today. “But there is work to be done in terms of managing the schemes as a unified portfolio and articulating what they are intended to achieve as a whole,” bringing a “clearer focus on assessing what results can realistically be delivered.”
Small and medium-sized businesses may need an extra 22 billion pounds ($35 billion) of finance by 2017 on top of existing funding sources, the NAO said. While the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Business Bank, which will start operating next year, re-examined these funding issues, and both the BIS and the Treasury have teams focused on enterprise policy, there is no program across government departments, according to the NAO.
To contact the reporter on this story: Svenja O’Donnell in London at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at firstname.lastname@example.org