Budget ‘must support SME lending’

LENDING to small and medium-sized companies should be a key part of next week’s Budget, a business support organisation has argued.

The Forum for Private Business (FPB) has highlighted the ongoing problem of poor access to credit, saying Project Merlin – which aims to increase SME lending by 15% – is not enough.

Phil Orford, chief executive, pointed out demand for credit is subdued, claiming this demonstrates the lending process is too complex.

He urged the government to boost transparency, flexibility and affordability in SME lending, saying banks will never meet their 15% target if demand stalls at current levels.

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