Belfast Telegraph

Survey: firms not helped by funding initiatives

By Clare Weir

A huge majority of Northern Ireland firms have told a new survey that new government funding schemes have not helped their businesses.

A whopping 77.8% told the Close Brothers Business Barometer that the new Funding for Lending and Project Merlin initiatives have not been beneficial for them, while only 22.2% of SME owner managers believe the government support small and medium-sized businesses enough.

Businesses throughout Northern Ireland felt strongly about the issue, with 61.1% of respondents stating they think the government could do more to support business owners.

The latest Business Barometer also demonstrates that 55.6% of the businesses asked, plan to raise their finance over the next 12 months and the majority are considering attempting to raise funds through bank loans or overdrafts.

Harry Parkinson, managing director of Close Brothers Commercial Finance in Ireland, said that at a time when growth should be encouraged, it is worrying to see that the majority of businesses surveyed feel a lack of support from the government.

"SMEs are the foundation of our economy and their growth should be supported," he said. "However, with the lack of confidence in government funding initiatives and traditional forms of lending often hard to secure, businesses need to be reassured that funding is still available."