Financing Britain's Growth ThinkTank

FOREWARD FROM THE CHAIR - PROF. NIGEL WAITE
On 11 November 2010, Venture Finance hosted a panel  of corporate finance experts from banking, private equity and government, as well as the professional services and advisory sectors. Their task was to address how the finance industry can help Britain’s small and medium-sized companies access the funds they need not only to survive and thrive but also to help sustain the UK’s economic recovery. Chairman Nigel Waite explains the importance of the event

Our ThinkTank discussion really could not be more timely, as we face an uncertain future. The restoration of sound public finances is clearly the coalition government’s overriding priority. The price governments pay when they get this wrong was vividly illustrated by the results of the USA’s recent mid-term elections.

As any businessperson knows, there are only three levers you can pull to increase profits: cut costs, put up prices, or sell more. In this context, UK Coalition PLC plans to achieve an unprecedented reduction in costs, as well as a number of price rises such as the forthcoming increase in VAT to 20% and the introduction of the 50% income tax band.

In a sense, these aspects of economic management are relatively straightforward and manageable. Far more of a challenge is the task of increasing sales or, in government terms, achieving growth. With the government forecasting the loss of half a million public sector jobs and other voices of doom predicting the loss of a further half a million jobs in the private sector, the risks to economic growth are very real indeed.

Growth remains an imperative. As The Sunday Times recently commented, “Small companies are vital to the recovery. About 60% of all private sector workers are employed in small and medium-sized firms.” And, as prime minister David Cameron has said, “We’re not just going to back the big businesses of today, we’re going to back the big businesses of tomorrow.” The Sunday Times went on to propose a five-point manifesto for small business, and I quote, “Bank lending is the most immediate problem”!

Our ThinkTank debate addressed this most pressing of business challenges, namely how to secure a dependable, consistent supply of business finance and working capital in order to ensure SMEs are at the forefront of economic recovery and job creation.

Professor Nigel Waite
Financial Services Research Forum

Read Part One: Access to finance

To download the ThinkTank whitepaper in full click here

To view our suite of accompanying videos click below: