We have written the following letter to the Chancellor, George Osborne MP
We are writing to request that HM Government acts to ensure that the responsible finance industry can continue to drive growth and prosperity in the UK.
Despite the economic recovery, we know that each year hundreds of thousands of people and businesses are unable to access finance, putting our economic growth and the nation’s prosperity at risk.
Every day businesses, from small fashion designers to solar panel manufacturers, are being declined bank loans because they do not meet the requirements of their bank’s algorithm, leaving them unable to grow and contribute to the economy. We are in danger of losing a generation of entrepreneurs who cannot access the right finance to get their company off the ground.
And it is not just businesses that are being affected by the lack of choice and impersonal service when it comes to finance. Families are still turning to expensive payday loans to buy essentials such as their child’s school uniform or to buy enough food to get them through the week; this sees them sucked into a cycle of unsustainable debt. The need for affordable and fair finance exceeds £6 billion every year.
Working to fill the gap, and provide a personalised service to these people and businesses, is a network of responsible finance providers that make ethical loans and give face to face support and advice. This year alone, they have helped 11,500 businesses to start and grow – including engineering companies, cafes and day care centres, creating 4% of the UK’s total new jobs for the year. They have also helped 45,000 people avoid payday lenders.
But now this locally based finance that fuels economic regeneration is at risk. For the past 15 years, the responsible finance sector has been a delivery arm for the Government to reach those businesses and people who were turned down by their bank, but were viable customers. With budget cuts, support for the responsible finance sector could end. This will have a dramatic impact on the hundreds of businesses and people that walk through our doors every day seeking support. It will also have significant economic implications, as fewer jobs and businesses will be created.
As the responsible finance industry, we are calling on the Government to continue its support for this sector so that people and businesses can thrive. Without responsible finance the UK will miss out on the opportunity to create a more inclusive financial system, and the huge benefits that would bring to people, businesses, and communities across the country.
We hope the responsible finance sector can rely on your support.
Ben Hughes, Chief Executive, Responsible Finance
Paul Kalinauckas, Chief Executive, BCRS Business Loans
Edward Siegel, Director of Investments, Big Issue Invest
Stephen Waud, Chief Executive, Business Enterprise Fund
Paul Breen, Director, Business Finance Solutions
Peter Sykes, Chief Executive, Chamber Acorn Fund (Humber) Ltd
Patrick Crawford, Chief Executive, Charity Bank
Mike Musson, Chief Executive, Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust
Sandra McLean, Fund Manager, DSL Business Finance
Grahame Latus, Chief Executive, Enterprise Answers
Stephen Edwards, Financial Controller, Enterprise Northern Ireland
Jonathan Diggines, Chief Executive, EV Business Loans
Arthur Foreman, Managing Director, Finance for Enterprise
Peter Lovell MBE, Chief Executive, Financing Enterprise Limited
Qammar Zaman, Chief Executive, First Enterprise Business Agency
Graeme Oram, Chief Executive, Five Lamps
Katy Ford, Chief Executive, Foundation East
Nicholas Nicolaou, Managing Director, GLE oneLondon
Stacey Howard, Operations Director, Goole Development Trust
Steve Williams, Loan Fund Manager, Impetus
Elaine Rimmer, Manager, Lancashire Community Finance
Graham Marley, Chief Executive, Let’s Do Business Group
Melanie Elliot, Chief Executive, MCF Group
Karen Davies, Chief Executive, Purple Shoots
Michael Brown, Chief Executive, Robert Owen Community Banking
Sharon MacPherson, Chief Executive, Scotcash
Alan Gordon-Freeman, Chief Executive, Sirius
Alastair Davis, Chief Executive, Social Investment Scotland
John Peters, Managing Director, Southwest Investment Group Services
Harry McDaid, Chief Executive, Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT)