Parliament has heavily criticised the current government’s attempts to improve access to finance for SMEs in a report published today.

The report stated that The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and HM Treasury have not done enough to raise SMEs’ awareness of the financing options available.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, said:

“Small and medium-sized enterprises have a vital role to play in driving the UK’s economic recovery, but despite Government attempts to encourage lending to SMEs many still struggle to access the finance they need.”

Both departments have a number of schemes in place to help fund SMEs where the market is failing to do so, but many SMEs have no idea that these actually exist.

John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Recent FSB research shows hundreds of schemes available to support small and medium-sized businesses, but no clear mechanism for evaluation, co-ordination or communication either at the national or local level.”

To tackle this problem, the committee recommends that the new British Business Bank, which will be established later this year, is used to manage the various schemes in a coherent programme.