Page last updated at 17:40 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 18:40 UK

Sony attacks UK insurance scheme

budget box
The insurance cover measure was announced in last week's Budget

Electronics giant Sony has criticised the UK government's scheme to help struggling firms cope with credit risk.

Chancellor Alistair Darling last week announced a credit insurance scheme to provide cover to businesses if their private insurers reduce their cover.

But Sony UK managing director Steve Dowdle said the scheme's details meant the government had "effectively signed the death warrant" for many retailers.

A government spokesman said the scheme provided a "lifeline" to firms in need.

Too late

Mr Dowdle said the £1m limit on the plan meant that retailers with 10 to 15 stores would not get help.

He also criticised the decision to offer cover for only 8 months, and then only to businesses who have had their insurance cover withdrawn after 1 April.

"This smacks of shutting the door after the horse has bolted, as so many businesses had their cover withdrawn before that date," Mr Dowdle said.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said: "This is a targeted, temporary measure to help companies secure the cash flow they need and restore confidence throughout supply chains.

"Risk is shared between Government and the private sector in order to strike a fair balance - supporting businesses, but not taking excessive risks with taxpayers' money."

The credit insurance scheme was one of several measures announced by Mr Darling in his Budget last week.

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