Birmingham & Black Country

Staffordshire County Council's small business loans 'success'

More than £1m has been loaned to small businesses in Staffordshire over the past year, the county council says.

The money has been made available under the Business Support Fund, set up to loan small and medium sized firms money during the tough economic climate.

The fund was created by the county council last November and businesses with up to 50 staff can apply.

Conservative councillor Ben Adams said it has been "tremendously successful" and a safe investment.

The council said it was working with the Black Country Reinvestment Society (BCRS), a not-for-profit lender, and firms could apply for loans ranging from £10,000 to £50,000.

'Struggled with finance'

"About 18 months ago, we were really aware banks were not really fulfilling their obligations to lend to small businesses," Mr Adams, responsible for economic growth and enterprise added.

"A number of companies that we knew were sustainable were struggling to get support so we set up the Staffordshire Business Support Fund which has been tremendously successful.

"This is an excellent way to spend money and our commitment is to underwrite, not necessarily to throw the capital at this and there's such an effective organisation behind it, that we think it's a really safe investment."

A spokesman for the Federation of Small Business said it welcomed more finance being made available to businesses.

"As we know, small businesses have struggled to get finance from the banks and if the loans are given at a reasonable rate then that's fantastic.

"We have called for more competition in the banking sector and if the idea is publicised well and people know it's available then we welcome it."

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