Flexi-work is life key.

The Bank of Scotland has launched a campaign to boost Scotland’s business start-up rate. It will match the cash or investment made by aspiring businessmen and women with a loan, requiring no security, of between #2,500 and #10,000. The product, 50:50 Finance, also offers a free business helpline for one year. Gordon Fairbrother, the bank’s senior director of customer relationships, said Scotland’s business birth rate was declining and must be resurrected if the economy is to grow. More details at www.bankofscotland.com NatWest has become the latest bank to confirm its small business customers can enjoy a clear overdraft commitment of up to 12 months. The committed overdraft applies to both secured and unsecured overdrafts and at no extra cost. Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland have made similar moves this year. For more information see www.natwest.com

– The British Chambers of Commerce has warned ministers that government proposals to introduce new rights for working parents will damage competitiveness, increase costs, and could jeopardise flexible working practices in many small businesses. Its response to the government green paper, Work and Parents: Competitiveness and Choice, includes a poll of over 600 businesses which shows introducing a right to reduce working hours for mothers following maternity leave – as well as extending maternity leave and pay periods – would have a negative impact on around 85% of businesses. The BCC warned two-thirds of companies were opposed to paid paternity leave, believing it could have a negative impact on their business competitiveness. For more on the findings see www.britishchambers.org.uk

– Seven out of 10 employees would be more motivated if their employer offered flexible working, according to a new survey, commissioned by Lloyds TSB on behalf of Employers for Work-Life Balance. This was important to the 18-24 age group, where just over 80% agreed they would be more motivated at work if they had access to work-life balance schemes. Graduates cited work-life balance as a key influence on decisions about whether they would stay with their employer. The survey also showed 50% of managers would not hesitate to change jobs in exchange for a better quality of life. At least six out of 10 said their own employers did not offer work-life policies. Regional differences were apparent: 65% of Northerners said their employer does not offer work-life policies, falling to 56% in the South. For more details, go to www.lloydstsb.com. ?:

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