HUDDERSFIELD is lagging behind its Yorkshire neighbours when it comes to funding for business.
More than £82m of lending has now been secured from NatWest and RBS by businesses in the region under the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme.
But a league table produced by the banks shows Huddersfield trailing in when it comes to receiving finance – eighth out of 10 locations in Yorkshire and 82nd out of 104 in the UK.
Nationally, Sheffield is third with £26m of funding accessed by the city’s businesses while York is eighth.
More than 4,000 small and medium-sized businesses across the UK have secured £1bn in finance from NatWest and RBS since August 1. Yorkshire accounts for 10% of the total UK demand seen by the two banks.
Peter Ibbetson, small business chairman at Royal Bank of Scotland, called on everyone to work together to stimulate growth in the UK economy and help businesses thrive all around the country.
He said: “The solution for the economic situation we’re in lies with everybody: it lies with the politicians, the media, the banks and the businesses to work together and there is one word at the heart of all this, and that’s confidence.
“We need confidence back in the high street and cheap finance is one way to build confidence. At NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland, we’re saying to businesses now is the right time to invest and these are the cheapest rates I have seen in my banking career.”
Tony Kelly, managing director of NatWest Commercial Banking in the North of England, said: “£1bn to SMEs across the UK is a pleasing milestone but I always want more here in Yorkshire.
“We’re seeing demand differ significantly from town to town and I’d urge any business looking for finance to get in touch and we can see if the FFL scheme can help you.”
“We’re focused on helping our customers meet their ambitions, we’re putting our relationship managers through a unique external accreditation programme with bespoke training for dealing with different types of business and we’re all going out two or three times a year to work directly for an SME to get a feel for the challenges those businesses are facing right now.
“That shift in culture, along with cheaper finance, is key to us helping businesses think about growth.”
Meanwhile, Santander UK said its corporate and commercial banking arm increased lending to SMEs in Yorkshire by 43% in the year to the end of September.
In total, SMEs in the region received £368m of new funding during the period – supported by the Funding for Lending initiative.
Santander accessed the first tranche of £1bn – out of the £9.4bn for which it is eligible – from the Funding for Lending scheme in July this year.
During the year, Santander also recruited 24 new staff in the region, including relationship directors and product specialists to improve its service to businesses.
Neil Williams, regional director for Santander Corporate Banking in Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support even more businesses in Yorkshire this year, particularly smaller businesses which are so vital for economic recovery and growth.
“There are some fantastic businesses in our region and we are proud to be providing not only funding but, more importantly, a committed long-term banking partnership with more of our local strong and growing companies.”
Marcelino Castrillo, head of SME banking, said: “Santander is strongly committed to SME banking and we are actively growing our business to increase our support for businesses.”