Government lending must be simplified

GOVERNMENT schemes designed to boost lending to small businesses are too fragmented and do not respond quickly enough to changing market conditions, according to a report released today by the spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office (NAO) found that the relevant departments “have not clearly articulated” what they are attempting to achieve with the schemes.

The report also concluded that small numbers of companies are served by the policies, with just 5,900 businesses receiving assistance from schemes run by the department of business, innovation and skills in 2012-13.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, suggested all the schemes should be managed as part of one portfolio.

She said: “Given the importance to the government of promoting growth, greater benefits and public value could be achieved through treating the interventions as a programme, with a clearer focus on assessing what results can realistically be delivered.”

Business secretary Vince Cable intends to launch a business bank in the near future to bring together small and finance.