BBC Onepolitics show


Page last updated at 08:46 GMT, Sunday, 30 November 2008

Small business woes

Martyn Oates
The Politics Show South West

Polkerris beach
Polkerris beach - not so idyllic as it seems

Small business leaders are saying the pre-Budget report should have done more to shield them from the credit crunch. We examine how the credit crunch is affecting one small trader...

While the Chancellor announced some measures to try and get banks lending again, traders say they are still waiting for signs of improved liquidity from the banks.

Small businesses employ more than 13 million people nationally, and they are vital to the South West economy.


Anne Assheton-Salton was once the owner of a successful business on Polkerris beach on the south coast of Cornwall.

The Life Boat Beach Café has recently been repossessed.

Anne says: "I've got a quarter of a million pounds invested in this place and I can't defend this capital because there's no legal help available to me."

The Life Boat Beach Café
The shutters are up on the The Life Boat Beach Café

Having bought the business in 2002, Anne had been renting the building for six years.

Last winter, it was battered by the sea and needed several thousand pounds worth of maintenance.

She says: "I had a choice, pay the landlord or fix the building, and because I know that every August I should easily have been able to have got that money back, I made a wrong decision, I chose to make safe the building."

Bank denies funds

Summer was wet and the business suffered a 90% drop in takings.

Anne fell behind on her rent and in October, she went to the banks to ask for help.

In these times of limited liquidity, the banks said "no".

Anne Assheton-Salton

Banks are not interested in small businesses

Anne Assheton-Salton

Anne is not convinced the Chancellor has gone far enough to protect small businesses.

"If you make it through to six years," she says, "I think that establishes you do know what you're doing, but banks are not interested in small businesses, nobody is.

"I'd like the government to step in, possibly to nationalise at least one bank, or guarantee money."

In his pre-Budget report, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, announced a package of measures designed to help small businesses get loans.

Alongside the cut in VAT, he launched the temporary small business finance scheme, worth £1bn, this promises to give businesses more flexible lending facilities.

Watch the Politics Show on BBC One at 1200 GMT on Sundays.

Send us your comments:

Your E-mail address:

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.

Watch the programme again on BBC iPlayer


Politics from around the UK...

Previous stories...

Calling time on the booze cruise?
22 Nov 06 |  Business
South West
11 Sep 05 |  Politics Show

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific