Enterprise Finance Scheme records continuing decline
The number and value of loans offered to businesses through the government's Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFG) have continuously declined year-on-year since 2009, according to official figures.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) released the latest figures showing the number of firms offered loans during the period July to September 2009 totalled 2,030, compared with just 881 from July to September 2011.
The statistics showed the value of loans, offered via the scheme through which the government acts as guarantor on 75% of bank loans of between £1,000 and £1m, also dropped from £218m in July-September 2009 to £92m in July-September 2011.
Andrew Cave, chief spokesman of the FSB, said: "Our members are going into banks and not getting a conclusive response to questions about the EFG. There seems to be some confusion about the criteria and which businesses can access it."
A BIS spokesperson responded: "The EFG is a demand led scheme operating at the margins on commercial lending.
"EFG loans are provided from the lenders own funds and are a commercial agreement between the lender and borrower. All lending decisions are made by the bank. The government plays no role in the process, and will not intervene to direct lending."
In addition to the EFG extension next year, several new lenders, including Metro Bank, will be accredited to offer loans. BIS said it hopes this will "increase competition and choice for borrowers".