Time for banks and financial services leaders to show support for SMEs


With new research from the British Chambers of Commerce revealing that nearly a fifth (18%) of businesses have less than a month of cash in reserve – and nearly half (44%) one to three months’ worth – London Chamber of Commerce & Industry has again called for the financial sector in the City of London to show its support to the SMEs of the capital and UK.

The BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker polled over 600 businesses between March 25 to 27.

In a further sign of the cashflow of businesses coming under extreme pressure, 44% expect to furlough at least half of their workforce in the next week, with 32% saying between 75 to 100% of staff.

Richard Burge, chief executive of the LCCI, said: “The latest BCC polling shows the immense strain that the SMEs of the UK are under.

“With cashflow running out many have no choice but to furlough staff, whilst also juggling other tough choices to cut outgoings in order to stop themselves going to the wall.

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“At London Chamber we are hearing from members who are yet to be able to access the government-funded business interruption loan via the bank, and who cannot get access to interim bank finance on low-interest or appropriate terms either. The government money simply isn’t flowing fast enough down the chain.  

“Banks must demonstrate that they are serving the national cause. And those organisations who represent London’s financial institutions must call them out for not doing enough.

“This includes the City of London Corporation. I want to see the chair of the policy and resources committee and the Lord Mayor demonstrating on the public stage that they recognise that London and the entire nation’s economy depends on the support and swift actions of those in the capital’s financial sector.”

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