Small Businesses Starved Of Funds 
According to data released today by the Bank of England, lending to small businesses fell by over 5 per cent in August against an overall decline in corporate credit of 3.4 per cent.

Considering that such businesses make up 60 per cent of the private sector workforce, employing almost 23m people, the news will not please the Government, which yesterday pledges £1bn to help kick-start the economy.

And the European Investment Bank (EIB) is tightening a credit line for small businesses that enables high street banks to offer discounted loans, although the banks says that it still wants to lend to the UK’s small business sector.

Bank sources report that the EIB is changing its terms and making less money available, which is a worry when it has been an important source of mall business loans since 2008.

However, Simon Brooks, the EIB’s Vice President said that he is putting pressure on the UK banks to pass on its discounted lending rate.

“We are always keen to make sure that the financial advantage that we bring to the deal reaches the SME,” he said.

The EIB says its funding has supported discounted loans to 7,500 UK small and medium-sized businesses in the last four years. The average loan, which has to be used for investment and not working capital, comes in at around £400,000.

Mr Brooks went on to say that the EIB would maintain “a good level of commitment” to SME lending this year but is less sure of 2012, given the condition of the European economy.

“Clearly things have not returned to normal as quickly as we hoped and expected and we continue to maintain a strong level of loans for SMEs for 2011 and beyond. Whether it will be quite the level of 2010 remains to be seen but we are not about to pack up our bags,” he said.

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£1bn To Kick-start The Economy 
The Government has announced that it is on an “all-out mission” to kick-start industry amidst claims that it has been too focused on reducing the country’s deficit and not doing enough to boost growth.

In a newspaper interview, Chancellor George Osborne wrote: “In terms of future productivity, this infrastructure deficit is as serious as our budget deficit. In terms of job creation today, getting construction projects off the ground is critical.”

“Too often projects get hobbled by planning restrictions, funding blockages or regulatory burdens. So this autumn the government is on an all-out mission to unblock the system and get projects under way.”

With plans to create 35,000 jobs in the initiative, more than 100 projects should attract further investment from private enterprise to the tune of around £6bn.

The funds raised will be focused on small companies and those in the manufacturing supply chain and will benefit every sector from telecommunications and services to electronics and automotive.

There are also plans to build two new power plants in Ferrybridge and Thorpe Marsh in Yorkshire, which will create 1,000 new constructions jobs and news has been announced that BT will complete its roll-out of superfast broadband by 2014, thus generating work for 500 more engineers.

As well as creating them, the scheme will help to safeguard more then 200,000 jobs with more infrastructure announcements expected over the coming months.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the eurozone crisis was having a “chilling effect” on global growth and warned that there were “no short-cuts to success.”

"The eurozone crisis has had a chilling effect on major economies around the world, and has added to the unprecedented pressures facing the global economy," he said.

"But, in spite of the difficulties, I am confident that we can both resolve the crises at hand and come through them with an economy that is stronger and fundamentally fairer."

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To Have Or Have Not 
As news emerges that pay for the directors of many of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies rose 50 per cent over the past year, research shows that the average pay rise in the private sector was just 2.6 per cent. And in the public sector there has been a general pay freeze for most workers.

The research, from Incomes Data Service (IDS), an independent research organisation, highlights a growing divide between private and public sector pay awards. And in both sectors, average pay is well below the current rate of inflation, which stood at 5.2 per cent last month.

Ken Mulkearn, editor of IDS Pay Report said: "The different experiences of the public and private sectors are shaping the difference between the level of pay settlements between the two sectors."

"While pay awards are ahead in the private sector, they are still some way behind inflation, even in manufacturing where pay awards are higher in comparison to other sectors," he added.

Further data from IDS show an even greater divide, as the research reveals that the average pay for a director of a FTSE 100 company is now over £2.5m.

And the handsome remuneration doesn’t just stop at salary; directors’ bonus payments rose on average by 23 per cent over the last year, taking the average bonus to £906,000.

Editor of this report, Steve Tatton said that closer scrutiny of bonus payments was expected in the future and that "remuneration committees will have to make sure that they are able to provide full and thorough justifications for the bonuses awarded."

Meanwhile, down at the other end of the pay scale, the TUC is calling on the Low Pay Commission to recommend rising the nation minimum wage – currently £6.08 per hour for an adult aged over 21 - next year by more than the rate of inflation.

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Small Businesses Lose Money Through Energy Inefficiency 
According to E.ON, one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers, small businesses in the UK are losing £7.7bn every year because they aren’t taking sufficient care in improving their energy efficiency.

Research by E.ON showed that nearly four million of the UK’s 4.8 million small businesses just aren’t aware of energy efficiency measures and equipment. For example, of the businesses surveyed, almost nine out of 10 did not have lighting timers or motion sensors and 13 per cent said that they left the windows open when the air conditioning or heating was on.

The survey also found significant frustration around the subject among employees, with almost 90 percent saying that their fellow employees’ attitude to energy efficiency was ‘irresponsible,’ while 84 percent said their company’s approach to the environment affects their overall happiness in the workplace.

With price increases for businesses of as much as 30 per cent over the last year, the cost of energy is now one of the highest bills companies have to pay, so it makes sense to take measures to improve energy efficiency.

The research exposes small businesses in the financial and professional services sectors as being the least savvy when it comes to energy efficiency awareness. Almost all of the small businesses surveyed from these sectors were unaware that they are missing out on savings of up to £2,000 per year each.

"Introducing small changes in your business behaviour, like installing energy saving equipment, light sensors and smart meters, can have a significant financial impact on your energy bills," said Iain Walker, head of business sales at E.ON.

"With energy saving playing a key role in employees' happiness in the workplace, taking a more efficient approach makes sense. It's a win, win, win situation - saving your business money, helping protect the environment and improving the happiness of employees."

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QE2 No Guarantee Of Lending 
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has told MPs that the £75bn the Bank has injected into the economy in a bid to aid the UK’s recovery is no guarantee that the commercial banks will lend more to business.

However, Mr King said that he thought that lending would have fallen if the action had not been taken and denied waiting for too long before agreeing on taking the step of a further injection of cash.

Giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, Mr King said: "I can't guarantee that it means that bank lending will rise, but what I do believe is that it won't fall as far as it might otherwise have done,"

"I think the action will make a difference to the amount of lending, but it certainly doesn't guarantee that lending to the real economy is positive.

"Only the banks are in a position to assess credit risks for SMEs. What we have to do is to find ways of giving incentives to the existing banks in order to lend more."

£200bn had already been pumped into the economy in 2009, so this second round of quantitative easing, or QE, has been dubbed QE2. When asked why the Bank had waited for so long to incrase its QE programme.

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