The SME Access to Finance report discovered that about 87% of all firms were able to get access to the money that they needed. which was an increase from 2010 when it found only 79% had access to funding. The report also found a decrease in the amount of rejections that SMEs received from banks when seeking funds. However, despite this good news, there was a small increase in the amount of firms that were not able to get any access to funds.
The Scottish government stated that the survey showed that lending restraints among banks to SMEs have eased a bit, and with good timing as the survey also revealed that there is a demand for finance in almost all sectors of small business with about nine percent of firms seeking additional or new funding and about 33% looking to at least renew their current lending.
The highest rejection rates were found in construction and manufacturing with the survey suggesting that overall the financial demand of SMEs was stable when compared to results from 2010. In the new survey about 45% of SMEs were seeking out credit over the three years leading up to 2012 which compares to the same time period leading up to 2010 when 43% of all SMEs were seeking out funding.
John Swinney, the finance secretary, stated that SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy in Scotland and that they are responsible for employing over a million people in the country which accounts for 54% of the workforce. He added that evidence that points to easier lending access for SMEs is great news for the economy since it will help to build a stronger recovery effort.
He also explained that many companies have been approaching the Business Gateway for information about lending before they head to the banks and he encourages all SMEs to continue to make full use of the information offered to them. Earlier in the year Swinney was one of several politicians that spoke up and urged the government in the UK to do more to make banks open up lending to SMEs.