Lib Dems slam bank loan numbers

May 31, 2010 12:00 AM
By Brentwood Weekly News

ONLY ten businesses have benefited since the launch of the Bank of Essex last year.

Essex County Council started Banking on Essex in a blaze of publicity last April, and followed it with a promotional launch six months ago.

A total of £50million was set aside to lend to small and medium-sized businesses in the county.

But since the promotional launch last November, only ten loan applications have been approved totalling £290,000, while a further 14 are awaiting a decision. David Kendall, leader of the Lib Dems at Brentwood Council, who is also a county councillor, claims the figures show it is not working.

He said: "After all the hype I was really hoping this scheme would provide much-needed help and support to small businesses in Essex who have been really struggling to borrow money from the High Street banks.

"However, it would appear, from the small number of loan applications approved to date, borrowing money from Banking On Essex has been as difficult as getting it from banks. If the economy in Essex is going to be given the kick start it badly needs, then Banking On Essex should be playing a more proactive role."

County council spokesman Michael Page said: "Those who have received loans from Banking on Essex, who may otherwise have not accessed vital credit and support, have proved successful in securing local jobs and expanding."