Phone service targets SMEs in debt

Minister for Small Business, Patricia Hewitt, has launched the helpline which is part of a DTI drive to support small businesses facing financial problems.

‘Many businesses face a debt crisis at some stage in their life,’ said Hewitt.’The business debtline will provide expert counselling and advice so businessescan overcome their financial difficulties and prosper.’

The £540,000 three-year initiative will expand on work carried out in the WestMidlands by voluntary sector organisation Birmingham Settlement, and has thesupport of seven major banks and the Small Business Service.

The government scheme will provide small businesses with advice on subjectsranging from drawing up budgets to presenting payment proposals to creditors.

David Irwin, chief executive of the Small Business Service, said: ‘SMEs facemany difficult finance issues. The Business Debtline will provide a means bywhich SMEs can get advice to alleviate some of those burdens.’

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