Banks fail to hit targets

THE UK’s top banks are failing to meet their business lending targets according to new figures.

The Bank of England has revealed that in the first three months of 2011 the UK’s five biggest banks fell more than £3 billion behind schedule.

Under the Project Merlin deal, banks agreed with Government to raise lending to SME’s to £76 billion in 2011, equating to £19 billion a quarter.

However the first quarter resulted in lending of only £16.8 billion.

David Dowson, chairman of Bridlington-based Lloyd Dowson Business Advisors said: “I feel the lack of funding is holding back many SME’s at a time when they should be looking for expansion.

“It is not acceptable when a business cannot even get an overdraft facility to fulfil an order, all we can do is hope that the Government continues to heap the pressure on the banks to lend in the second half of 2011.

“In the meantime businesses need to make sure they plan well ahead and project forward cash flow needs and requirements, and talk to their accountant at the earliest opportunity.”

The UK’s top five banks are Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander.