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Page last updated at 07:33 GMT, Thursday, 14 October 2010 08:33 UK

Varley: We prioritise small business lending


The UK's major banks have drawn up proposals to provide capital to ensure business growth.

Chief Executive John Varley leads the new Business Finance Taskforce, a consortium of six banks which has pledged to aid growth by lending £1.5bn to companies with a turnover of between £10m and £100m.

He told Today presenter John Humphrys that, although Taskforce banks have supplied around £180bn of new lending to business since the start of last year, net lending balances have fallen., something which he said was to be expected at this time in the economic cycle.

Eighty-five per cent of applications for new credit are being approved, he added. But Mr Varley acknowledged that there is "a lot of anxiety" among small companies about renewing their credit facility and said that mentors would now be available to advise them.

"At a time when the Chancellor is cutting Child Benefit and freezing the pay of public sector workers, banks also have to pay responsibly," he added. And he insisted that "customers come first".

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