A SMALL firms lobby group has criticised the banks for being risk averse and for failing to recognise the damage they have done.
Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, said the economy has struggled due to a lack of affordable credit for businesses and consumers.
Despite a number of government initiatives, he said the main banks “continue to disable growth by applying unreasonable criteria to their assessments of risk and credit worthiness.
“They are institutionally risk averse, anti-competitive and fail to grasp the scale of the damage they have done, and continue to do. More radical action must be taken to force change now, rather in years to come”.
In his new year message Orford said it was up to government to create the conditions for confidence to improve.
“With talk of an unprecedented ‘triple-dip’ recession, it is no wonder that confidence remains low, businesses hoarding cash and investment intentions distinctly muted, he said. “Despite this, many small business owners possess the courage and creativity to progress.
“What we need is a clear national economic strategy which maintains a focus on deficit reduction, lower borrowing and an improvement in our balance of payments, whilst mapping out a visionary approach to medium and long-term enterprise friendly policies to give all business the confidence to invest.
“This must be the focus of the Budget on March 20 with further tax and investment stimulants to encourage businesses to spend some of the £700 billion of cash on their balance sheets.”