Banks pledge support for small businesses

The BBA is writing to MPs to set out the actions banks are taking to help small businesses deal with the downturn. BBA chief executive Angela Knight said: "The UK banking industry has always been and remains a strong supporter of small businesses. Behind every successful entrepreneur, there has been an initial helpful relationship with a bank manager who shares the business vision. Banks are proud to be working actively in this essential stratum of the UK economy and are committed to helping businesses through the economic downturn.

"But we have to be clear that as talk turns to recession it seems inevitable that some businesses will not survive, even with the best assistance that banks, government and voluntary agencies can give them. The businesses that will succeed through this downturn are those currently reviewing their business plans and engaging with their banks to prepare for a slump."

The BBA has also issued statistics showing that in the 12 months to the end of June 2008:

· more than half a million new small businesses were created

· borrowing using business loans grew by 11 per cent to £44 billion;

· borrowing on overdrafts stood at £9.2 billion - a three per cent on-year rise; and

· total deposits stood at £54.5 billion - a six per cent on-year rise.