Small business borrowing rises in face of “anti-business” budget and article 50

East Anglia, Scotland and the North West see the biggest increase in the value of finance applications, while the average rose by 7% to £86,000

Despite an “anti-business” budget and the triggering of article 50, the average value of finance enquiries from UK small businesses to the the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers’ (NACFB) rose by 7% on last month to £86,000.

This increase of £5,000 came despite the actual number of enquiries staying broadly the same in the month from March 8 and is thought to be a sign that announcements in the Spring Budget, such as increased business rates and decreased tax incentives, and the triggering of Article 50 haven’t impacted growth appetite.

East Anglia saw the largest rise in the value of finance applications, from £1.4m to £3.2m (a 114% increase), followed by Scotland (a 104% increase) and the North West (a 102% increase). The value of applications in London rose by 31%, from £8.2m to £10.8m.

Just four regions saw the total value of funding enquiries decrease in the month following the budget: Wales (82%), the North East (61%), the Midlands (51%) and the South East (45%).

Paul Goodman, chairman of the NACFB, commented: “Despite the chancellor rowing back on the short-sighted plan to increase national insurance contributions for the self-employed, the sharp rise in business rates for many high-street shops has delivered a hammer blow to businesses around the country.

“Nevertheless, despite this gloomy outlook, the UK’s smaller businesses have proved to be remarkably resilient to some of the Budget’s more punitive measures and Article 50 uncertainty generally. In such a climate, it’s encouraging to see overall finance enquiries holding firm and UK small businesses still turning to experienced brokers for assistance.”

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