Revenue mulls small business credit database

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HMRC's latest attempt to boost the SME sector will see it working with government departments to develop a small business credit database to help firms secure finance

The Telegraph reports the “pilot scheme” run by HMRC could see companies’ VAT payments data being shared with credit ratings agencies, providing more reliable information to banks and other lenders.

The problem of viable small businesses being unable to secure credit has been dubbed “computer says no” banking.

If the proposals move forward, more information on small firms’ credit histories will be made available to lenders, especially newer banks, to help increase access to finance.

However, according to an HMRC spokesperson...

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SME credit scoring

A credit rating for an SME which shows the criteria used to arrive at the rating would be an improvement. Openness and transparency is needed by rating agencies to educate SME owners/ directors about what factors affect their business rating including, as Russell Griggs has commented, their own personal credit score. We can all get our personal credit information easily now. It will take some years before SME's understand how their company credit scores are arrived at and it will probably take longer to get more reliable credit scores.

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Late April fool?

My first thought when I read this - is this a late April fool joke?

If HMRC really want to help the SME sector then why not just simplify the tax system?  That would help SMEs a lot.

I'm uncomfortable with the idea of HMRC sharing tax information with third parties.  My view is that tax information is always supposed to be confidential.

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1984

Surely this is a good example of government having an awful lot of data - but not really knowing what is it for.

We will see this issue a lot more in the future - every time a bright spark in Whitehall says, "I know, why don't we.......".

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Eh?

Since when was it the role of HMRC to assist in business financing? Should they not try to focus on actually carrying out their current duties with some degree of competency?

 

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Am I too cynical?

I thought credit rating agencies paid for sales ledger data.

Is this going to be another "we don't receive payments for having 0845 numbers" saga?

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