Midlands business hit.

Steve Bottomley, head of HSBC Invoice Finance, said the slowdown of payments to invoice finance clients in the Midlands indicated industry in the region was in difficulty.

Up to 50,000 jobs across the West Midlands automotive supply chain have hung in the balance with BMW’s pull-out from the Rover Longbridge plant.

And CBI regional indicators last week revealed the strength of sterling has knocked the confidence out of West Midlands industry, with business optimism and exports in decline and output trailing behind the national average.

Bottomley said his factoring services could see ‘a real slowdown already’ in sales invoices coming in from Midlands clients. Factoring houses are a popular financial alternative among small to medium-sized businesses, who give control over of their sales ledger for access in return for funds against debtors and a debt collector with clout.

He said: ‘The West Midlands more than other region is getting squeezed – and that’s even before present conditions really begin to bite.’

He argued there are ‘a lot of good businesses in the West Midlands’, but what they desperately needed was new markets and an external weakening against the euro.

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