Lending conditions improve for manufacturers

The latest quarterly credit conditions survey from the manufacturers' organisation EEF suggests that bank borrowing conditions are gradually easing for UK manufacturers but that smaller firms are failing to see the full benefits.

According to the survey, more companies than not were positive about the availability of finance. Cost, however, remained a concern with more companies reporting an increase rather than a decrease in the overall cost of credit. Smaller companies were more negative about the availability and cost of borrowing. EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said the survey results suggested there was an immediate case for strengthening the Funding for Lending Scheme and making SMEs more aware of it. She continued: "But, in the long-run we ultimately need a much more diverse and dynamic finance landscape for SMEs. This means more competition between banks lending to SMEs and more options outside of banks."