Chairman comments on expansion of start-up loans for young
JOHN Allan welcomes move
but urges government to focus on 'broken relationship'
between small businesses and banks following declining lending
John Allan, FSB national Vice Chairman and Chairman of Merseyside,
West Cheshire and Wigan, has commented on today's £30 million boost
to start-up loans for young entrepreneurs.
Under the scheme, when a business plan is approved budding
entrepreneurs are able to access a low-interest loan - typically
valued at approximately £2,500 - with a repayment period of up to
According to a government statement more than 3,000 people have
applied or registered an interest in a start-up loan to date.
In the 3 months that the scheme has been running more than £1.5
million in loans have been approved, allowing 460 new businesses to
get off the ground. Around 100 new businesses a week are expected to
reach approval stage in January, and thousands more in the months
However, in December 2012 official figures showed that small
business lending under the Government's flagship scheme, the
Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), fell by around £160 million
year-on-year, from around £461 million in 20110/11 to £301 million
In September 2012 the Business Minister, Michael Fallon, wrote to
the Chief Executives of the 5 main high street banks to encourage
them to increase their use of the scheme, after the data showed that
significantly fewer loans had been granted in 2012 compared to the
previous year. In 2010/11 the figure was 4,685 while 2011/12 saw
just 2,999 EFG loans to small business owners.
Mr Allan said:- "By increasing the pot for start-up loans by
£30 million to £110 million over the next three years, and the age
range of those eligible from 24 to 30 in order to meet demand, the
Government is moving in the right direction in addressing the gap in
small business finance.
But it needs to pick up the pace considerably and not lose focus on
rebuilding the broken relationship between small businesses and
The Government is indeed acting on a number of fronts but failed
initiatives, including Project Merlin's lending targets, combined
with the financial scandals of mis-selling and the manipulation of
the inter-bank lending rate, have fuelled scepticism and a sense of
alienation among small business owners.
With the new Funding for Lending and Business Bank schemes in mind,
2013 must bring real results in reducing the cost of lending and
boosting competition in order to free firms to create jobs and drive
Fewer than one in 10 firms responding to the FSB's quarter four 'Voice
of Small Business' index considered credit to be easily
available. That is simply not good enough."
and exclusions down
ATTENDANCE at schools in
Liverpool is at a record high while the number of pupils being
excluded has dropped by more than 40% over the last year.
The Council's annual behaviour and attendance report for 2011 to 2012
shows that overall attendance for primary schools stands at 95%; an
improvement of 0.89% on the previous year. In secondary schools it
is 93.11%; an increase of 0.94%.
A total of 26 of the City's 29 secondary schools improved their
overall attendance, while 113 of the 123 primaries did better.
The most common cause of absence was illness, and pupils missing
lessons due to taking holidays in term time fell in the secondary
sector to 3.69% from 4.37%, but rose in primaries; up to 9.87% from
The number of permanent exclusions is the lowest since 2006, falling
41% in secondary schools; down from 90 to 53, and 40%; from 25 to
15 ; in primary schools.
The most common reason was continual disruptive behaviour. Boys
heavily outweigh girls, accounting for 79% in secondary schools and
93% in primary schools.
Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said:-
"These figures are extremely encouraging and I am pleased that we
are making progress through our strong working relationship with
schools and giving parents the best possible support.
We hear and read a great deal about the behaviour of young people,
but the figures show that it really is a minority of pupils who are
permanently excluded from schools; just 0.04% in primary schools
and two in a thousand in secondary schools. It is important
though that we are not complacent as it is vital that pupils spend
as much time as they can in school. Every pupil who does not attend
or is excluded is damaging their chances of a successful future."
The number of fixed term (temporary) exclusions fell around a third
in the autumn and spring terms of 2011/12 – down to 1,168 from 1,585
the previous year. And the number of pupils receiving more than
fixed term exclusion fell by around a 3rd.
The figures come after a recent Ofsted inspection of the City's
Secondary Education Centre in Netherley, which takes in pupils that
are at risk of or have been excluded, rated it as:- "good with
Last year, the Council established a Behaviour Services Review Group
with headteachers, officers and practitioners which analyses data
and provision to help with further improvement.
The report will be considered by the Council's Children's Services
Select Committee on Thursday, 10 January 2012.