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Despite the UK Government’s intervention to boost lending with initiatives such as the Funding for Lending Scheme, new research from recruitment firm Robert Half UK, shows that 67% of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors (FDs) in SMEs would increase headcount if they had access to lending.
While the latest ONS figures indicate that employment rose by 69,000 in the three months to June, unchanged from January to March at 7.8%, finance leaders indicate that more can be done. In fact, the majority (96%) of CFOs and FDs called on lending institutions to do more to increase finance to small and medium-sized businesses, and help support growth.
Since the start of the recession 38% of finance leaders at UK SMEs have been turned down for lending, despite the potential benefit this would have on employment.
Midlands-based firms appear to be worst affected by the lack of lending. According to the research, 43% of finance leaders have been turned down for extra lending since the start of the recession. This is closely followed by those SMEs based in London and the South East at 40%.
Seven out of 10 SMEs based in the South West and Wales would be most likely to increase headcount, followed by the Midlands with 68%.
Phil Sheridan, managing director, Robert Half UK said: “Employment has been gaining positive momentum over the last number of months, demonstrating greater confidence from UK businesses to invest in the people necessary to drive growth strategies. However, what our research indicates is that employment could be further bolstered should SMEs have the financial resource necessary to expand their teams.”