|European Loans for small business, Are you aware?
Treasury Minister, Ian Pearson has conceded that more needs to be done to raise awareness about the availability of loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The loans are less expensive than those offered by high street banks because the EIB, with its secure credit rating, can buy money from the wholesale markets at a cheaper rate.
When compared to the government’s main business support scheme, known as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, the EIB interest rates can be as much as 4.5% lower. The EFG carries a 2 per cent interest charge over and above bank lending rates.
However, you should be aware that EIB can only be used for capital investment rather than working capital. Although assistance with working capital in the current climate seems a priority, I have seen a number of clients tackle the recession through capital investment to increase product ranges, diversify and improve efficiencies to build more resilience into their businesses.
The banks HBOS, Barclays, Close Brothers, Lloyds TSB, RBS Santander UK and Ulster Bank are taking part in the scheme.
Worries over the sudden closure of the tax payment scheme
To date 160,000 businesses with cash flow difficulties have used the Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) to negotiate a timetable to settle PAYE, corporation tax and income tax bills.
Whilst this scheme provides a lifeline to struggling businesses funding last year’s tax bills out of this year’s profits this creates a knock on effect.
Therefore, unless business has picked up enabling them to set money aside for this year’s liability, then a premature closure of the scheme could push many businesses under.
||The government’s response is that the scheme has been directed at viable businesses with temporary cash flow problems. Most, the government believes, will survive.
A Treasury spokesman said: "The 'time to pay' scheme has been hugely beneficial for businesses facing difficulties and will continue to run as long as necessary. Any suggestion that it will end suddenly and businesses forced to repay is incorrect and runs counter to what the scheme was set up to achieve."