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I was talking to one retailer last month who said he had managed to raise bank finance for a second shop by remortgaging a residential property that he owned. While this is good news for him, it underlines how difficult it is to persuade banks to lend against good business plans.
Daniel Thomas, writing in the FT, explains that one reason for this is that at present there is about £5billion available for real estate lending in the UK in a market that needs to fund around £25billion of activity each year.
“It means banks are increasingly picking over clients, ” he writes. However, in his definition of clients, local shopkeepers do not even figure. Broadly speaking, there is almost no money available from banks for ordinary property deals.
This is an issue that retailers should take up with their MPs as the lack of finance for independents means that the supermarkets can continue their expansion plans into the convenience sector almost without constraint.
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