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Business calls for clarity over public finances


More than three-quarters of companies said they believed the government had so far failed to present an appropriate strategy explaining how they will restore the UK’s finances to health.
The results of the latest Chambers of Commerce Monthly Business Survey from 400 companies also revealed that, despite commitments to increase lending, businesses still face real difficulties accessing finance.
Only 6% of firms thought credit was easier to get hold of over the last three months, while a fifth said access had worsened.
The key findings from the survey include:
  • Less than a quarter of firms (23%) think the government has outlined an appropriate strategy to improve the UK’s finances;


  • 20% of companies believe access to finance has worsened over the last three months; 6% believe it has improved; and 74% think it remained unchanged;


  • 76% believe uncertainty surrounding Gordon Brown’s leadership is distracting the government from tackling the recession;


  • 25% of businesses has the capacity to recruit a new graduate over the next six months;


  • In spite of recent falls, more than 60% of businesses believe inflation will rise within a year. 8% of firms believe inflation will shoot up by more than 3%.
Bedfordshire & Luton Chamber of Commerce deputy chief executive Cheryl Smart (pictured) said: "It is clear the government has more to do if businesses are to be convinced there is a comprehensive strategy in place to improve the dire state of the nation’s finances.
"What is particularly concerning is how few businesses are reporting improvement in access to finance. If the banks do not grasp the nettle and start lending effectively to the private sector they will simply be playing a part in prolonging this downturn.
"Banks have a responsibility not just to lend, but to lend to the wealth creating sectors of the economy."

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