Labour's parliamentary candidate for Twickenham Nick Grant has called on Twickenham banks to sign up to a local business finance pledge in a letter to the Richmond and Twickenham Times.
Nick's letter can be read in full below:
I note in your 28th February edition reference to a grant of £4,747 made to a business support organisation by Richmond Council. This is to be welcomed - even small amounts of funding can make a difference to a fledgling business. But grants are one thing and timely, sufficient and progressive business finance is quite another.
There is no doubt that the practices of parts of our banking system were instrumental in pushing the country into a state of economic near collapse. This in turn has presented our present government with the opportunity to pursue an unprecedentedly radical programme of austerity, the divisive and unjust effects of which seem to multiply daily.
Having helped the country into this parlous state it is now incumbent on our banks to step up and play their part in helping business to grow, particularly those small and medium sized companies for whom access to finance at the right time can be the difference between meeting the next order and closing the doors forever. At the moment, with business lending across the country still falling, the signs are not good.
But banker bashing for its own sake is pointless. Much better to lay down a positive challenge to banks to demonstrate that they are genuinely supportive of the communities they recruit from and sell to.
Which is why I would like to use this letter to call upon the banks of Richmond & Twickenham to come forward in public with their commitment to the businesses of Richmond & Twickenham. Let’s see a Business Finance Pledge to the borough that all banks endorse. And not just warm words please. We need hard commitments; targets; numbers; a clear vision for a properly engaged Richmond & Twickenham banking community.
I’ve worked in the private sector all my professional life - originally for a small business, for a time self-employed and now for a large company. I’d be happy to put this practical experience to work for Richmond & Twickenham and bring the banks together to produce a Pledge that will improve the prospects of all.