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New taskforce seeks to ‘diversify business finance’

Business groups have welcomed the introduction of a new industry-led Taskforce which will seek to boost the finance options accessible to UK firms.

Announced as part of the credit easing package in the Autumn Statement, the Taskforce will focus on diversifying the range of finance options available, from corporate bonds to ‘crowd-funding’.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which had been campaigning for the initiative, has applauded the move. ‘Government has grasped the nettle in supporting industry to develop new and viable financing solutions for small and medium sized companies,’ said CBI Director-General, John Cridland.

His comments were echoed by the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), John Walker. ‘Funding for small businesses is heavily reliant on the major high street banks, so the Federation of Small Businesses welcomes this group to explore viable alternatives that are much needed.

‘Small firms need an environment where they can explore funding options that are only usually open to large businesses, or the scale of alternative lenders is smaller than in our competitor nations,’ he added.

On Wednesday the Business Secretary Vince Cable revealed that the new body will be led by the Legal and General chief executive and current chairman of the Association of British Insurers, Tim Breedon.

The Taskforce is due to report to the Government ahead of the 2012 Budget statement.