Foreign banks urged to lend to UK firms

FOREIGN banks were yesterday asked to provide billions of pounds in loans to cash-strapped small businesses at a secret meeting with chancellor Alistair Darling and business secretary Lord Mandelson.<br /><br />The government lobbied senior executives from Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, UBS, and BNP Paribas at a covert meeting in a bid to get them to participate in a government fund for ailing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). <br /><br />It is understood that the banks were asked to contribute &pound;25m-&pound;35m each to supply capital to SMEs. <br /><br />Although no UK banks were at the meeting, Barclays, HSBC, Standard Chartered and RBS are also being pushed to sign up to the plan.<br />