Small businesses across the North East are still struggling to get the help they need from the country’s banks and it is preventing them from growing and creating jobs.
And Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has written to the Chancellor asking him what he has to say to small businesses in the North East and what he is going to do to help them.
The problems facing small businesses in the Region were outlined to Alex by members of the Federation of Small Businesses at a special briefing session at his office.
“I was told that many businesses are just giving up on the banks. I was told stories of prohibitive high fees, people forced to borrow from friends or family, or take cash from their credit cards just to get them over a cash flow problem and to the end of the month,” said Alex.
“There also seems to be plenty of examples of the banks listening to people but doing nothing. One story was of a business person outlining his plans to his bank manager and getting very positive messages about being on the right track and was undergoing long interviews to be told their businesses are great and their planning very clear, but only to be informed that despite all that there were no lending facilities to be had.
“That is simply not good enough so I have written to the Chancellor telling him that contrary to his claims that the banks are lending to businesses, the experience here in the North East is quite different.”
“The banks aren’t the only impediment to our small businesses growing. Large organisations who fail to pay small businesses who supply them with goods and services on time are also a problem.
“I was told that big businesses owe small businesses billions of pounds at any one time – and they are sitting on as much as £130 billion rather than investing it. They need to invest, but more importantly they need to pay up on time instead of using small businesses as an extra line of credit- I’ll be raising that with the Chancellor too,” said Alex.
Alex was also happy to sign up as a champion for Real Life Entrepreneurs, an initiative to recognise entrepreneurs and help them drive a successful future. “There is a misconception that entrepreneurs are just the multi-millionaires of our era. That is not the case – there are countless entrepreneurs in Stockton with successful businesses and I think it is important for them to be properly recognised for their contribution and to be supported in their work,” he said.