Funding supply chain operations still critical

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Nine out of ten small businesses in the UK now expect 2014 to be better than 2013, a survey by Platform Black, the supply chain finance specialist, revealed this week.

And that includes 29 per cent who expect this year to be “considerably” better than last.

Nevertheless, there are still concerns over the access that SMEs have to working capital.

Two years ago, a study by banking bigwig Tim Breedon for the Department for Business Innovation and Skills suggested that there could be a shortfall in funding for small businesses of up to £191 billion over the next five years without action to improve access to finance.

Platform Black’s Louise Beaumont points out that latest figures from the Bank of England showed a monthly increase of £140m in lending to SMEs for November. But that came after four consecutive monthly falls. “Hopefully, 2014 will result in more meaningful action from the government to ensure this trend stays on an upward trajectory and that this yawning credit shortfall is reduced,” she says.

However, it is clear that the functioning of supply chains has become increasingly dependent on efficient supply chain finance schemes. And that is going to continue to be the case even as the economy picks up.


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