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Issue:- 03/04 February 2009


BARCLAY'S has announced a further £88 million is available to lend to SMEs through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), which was introduced during the downturn to help more businesses get finance. The scheme enables Barclays to lend to viable businesses that, because they cannot offer sufficient security to meet normal commercial lending, would not otherwise be able to get the finance for their business to survive and grow. Barclays has worked closely with Government on the scheme, and has already made available over £150 million in EFG loans in the last year, or almost one in every four EFG loans across the UK.

Bolton based Azurri, one of the UK's leading IT support and implementation companies has already received an Enterprise Finance Guarantee loan worth £100k from Barclays to help the business expand in the Charity sector.  "We approached Barclays for finance to increase our marketing effort and to invest in research and development to support our growth strategy in the Charity sector. We sat down with them and looked at the options open to us and in the end opted for a loan under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) Scheme.  This Government backed loan, which is administered by the Banks, helps businesses access funds for development. Barclays helped us through the whole process with the minimum of fuss and we got the funds we needed. With the loan secured, we have won new customers ranging in size from a large nationwide charity through to a small furniture charity in the Midlands." said Managing Director, Alastair Petrie.

"Time and again over the last year EFG has proven to be a superb way to support worthy businesses. We're a big believer in EFG - through it we've been able to assist over 1,650 businesses with loans.  The new funding we're announcing is going to continue that good work, to help more businesses become successful and help pull the UK out of recession.  Enterprise Finance Guarantee covers a key gap in the market - companies that are viable, perhaps even strong, but could not get a loan because they do not have sufficient security. These loans are in addition to Barclays continued, strong support for lending to businesses through the recession.  The Enterprise Finance Guarantee has helped thousands of viable businesses access the finance they need to withstand the recession and prepare for recovery. Following its recent extension, it will continue to play a vital role in encouraging enterprise and investment and driving productivity and growth throughout the UK economy."  said Steve Cooper, Managing Director of Barclays Local Business. 


HOUSE-PROUD Brits are turning their backs on fish dinners – because they are too smelly.  A new report shows that more than half of folk can’t stand the lingering smells fish suppers leave in the house after being cooked.  In fact, 40% of people NEVER cook fish any more, preferring to replace that part of their diet with meat or vegetables.  40% have no idea how to cook fish, and 25% simply don’t like the taste of it.  15% of Brits can’t bear to touch fish and so find it impossible to prepare, and 12% cite lack of money as the main reason why they don’t cook fish at home.  33% of folk also claim to avoid any type of fish with ‘suspicious’ or ‘unusual’ sounding names – which means pollock, gurnard and porgy are OFF the menu.  23% of Brits avoid cooking fish in case they catch food poisoning afterwards, and 34% worry about the taste repeating on them for hours after.  The poll of 3,238 respondents, conducted by the developer of the NutraSea omega-3 brand reveals that many Brits have made it this far in life without even trying some basic, easily accessible types of fish.  Over 50% of people have never eaten kippers, 20% haven’t touched tuna, and 13% don’t even know what cod tastes like.  Similarly, 40% of people haven’t tried crab, 49% won’t eat trout, and 37% have never tried mackerel.  And more than half of those polled say they dislike any type of fish which has a strong flavour – such as anchovies, pilchards, mackerel and sardines.  Dr Rafe Bundy, a registered nutritionist who has completed both a Bsc (Hons) in Biochemistry with Nutrition and a PhD in Human Nutrition at Southampton University, says:- “The findings from this survey support existing research that has found UK consumption of fish, especially oily fish that is rich is omega-3 fatty acids, to be low, about one-third of the minimum amount recommended.  This research suggests that the strong smell and taste of fish are 2 of the main reasons why people are avoiding eating fish, especially oily fish variants".  The poll also reveals the traditional ‘Fish and Chip Friday’ has taken a big hit in the past 12 months, with 66% of Brits claiming to have given up buying fish takeaways on a Friday.  33% of people say fish and chip takeaways were one of the first things they gave up since the recession was announced, and 34% say they consciously cut back on takeaways to save money.  But of those people who WILL eat fish, Cod comes out on top as the firm favourite for 37% of people.  The 2nd most popular fish is anything battered, whilst 29% are partial to a bit of tinned tuna or prawns.  25% of folk might even push the boat out and eat a bit of haddock, whilst 20% of people prefer to eat fish fingers or anything covered in bread crumbs.  Dr Rafe Bundy, a registered nutritionist, says:- “Though battered and tinned varieties of fish are the most popular, people should remember that the high calorie content of battered fish may have a negative impact on their health, whilst the tinning process can remove much of the omega-3 from tuna.”

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