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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 19 August 2010

Undervalued properties preventing bank lending to small firms, Forum warns

A small business support group is warning that inaccurate property valuations are preventing many smaller firms from accessing affordable bank lending. The Forum of Private Business believes that banks are often under-valuing properties when considering them as security for business loans. This means that many small businesses are either forced to stomach unfairly high interest rates on credit – or are denied loans altogether.

Research carried out by the Forum last month revealed that smaller businesses can expect to pay more than double the interest rate on unsecured loans than on lending guaranteed by assets. On average, members of the Forum’s Economy Watch panel faced interest rates of 11.8% on unsecured borrowing, compared with 4.5% for secured lending. Of those business owners providing security, almost three quarters 74% secured the loan against either a commercial or residential property, highlighting the importance of fair and accurate valuations.

Andrew Bacon, of business property specialists LeaseholdersUnited, is the Forum’s advisor on property issues, explained:- “One of the root causes of the crisis of lending on commercial property is the lack of transparency in the UK's commercial property market. This has left many valuers with inadequate market data that, given economic conditions, will make them more pessimistic resulting in lower valuations on commercial properties. This means many banks will subsequently have a limited appetite and ability to lend to businesses.”

However, LeaseholdersUnited has developed a solution to the problem. ‘CostMINDER’ is an online tool which allows users to input the details of any shop, office or industrial premises in England and Wales in order to obtain an independent assessment of its value.

Mr Bacon said:- "Creating transparency is by no means simple and it has taken me and my team at LeaseholdersUnited nearly five years to develop a cheap and workable solution. Our 6,000 free 'online communities' can enable businesses to create the transparency needed quickly and easily. This will not only help to firm up valuations but also give businesses the data they need to negotiate lower property costs."

For more information call:- 0845 612 6266 or visit:-

Warning Call Preference Service Scam

OVER the last few weeks we have received a steady growing number of reports about a caller claiming to be from BT, or other phone providers, offering sales call barring for a small fee. The fact is that The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service. TPS will not call a subscriber of the service to ask for personal details or payment to complete a registration. One such company targeting the UK seems to be a company from India. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that:- "This is a growing problem. We have also been made aware of an overseas company claiming to be BT, asking for your credit card details to stop unwanted calls. This is a scam. Never give out your credit card details over the phone." The TPS website has also got information on it to those words:- "If you do receive a call from someone claiming to be from the TPS or a similar sounding organisation, asking for personal information or charging you for this service, please check that it was the TPS you registered with and not another organisation offering similar services. Some of these companies are listed below:-

All of the above are commercial organisations, all of which charge for a service which is unregulated.  One such company calling from India, is charging people a fee (usually around £20 or £30) to register for the FREE TPS, and goes by several different names:-

Icon Global Services
IG Services
Biztek (or Bisdek) Telecomms
Consumer Advice Bureau

- our advice is NOT to pay them."

If you want to register for this service go to the official central opt out register website: - 

Also if you have if you have any information on these types of calls (phone number, web address), please send details to:- as they are very interested in stopping this from happening!

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