Business Finance – SME banking clash.

– The British Bankers’ Association and the British Chambers of Commerce have clashed over the need to reform services supplied by clearing banks to SMEs. The Competition Commission, as part of its monopoly inquiry into the supply of these services, is now seeking further comments on possible solutions. There are over four million small business accounts in the UK and deposits by those businesses exceed their borrowing from banks.

The BBA said banking support was given not only in terms of providing finance, but in other services such as cash handling and payment facilities.

But British Chambers of Commerce head of policy Ian Fletcher said: ‘There remain barriers to entry for organisations wanting to provide basic banking services to small businesses. In the short-term, this suggests regulation may be required.’

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– More than 1,0000 new jobs have been created in Newcastle-under-Lyme through #26.3m in capital investment from S&A Foods Ltd and #5m regional selective assistance from the DTI, trade secretary Stephen Byers has said. The #5m government grant means UK curry giant S&A Foods will extend production to a purpose-built factory at the new Lymedale Business Park.

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– Small business minister Patricia Hewitt has officially launched the restructured Business Link Network. The network is part of the major government drive to improve business support available to small businesses and now comprises 45 local operators covering the whole of UK. Hewitt said: ‘Business Link helped more than 300,000 small businesses last year to help boost their profits, increase productivity and stay competitive.’

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– Blue Wave has launched a new free web-based way to help secure payment of outstanding debts. Unpaid Invoices will remain in the public domain and cannot be used for commercial gain. The website contains a simple online tool to create html invoice duplicates for use by business website owners worldwide.

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