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15 October 2009



Banks need to ease the pressure on local businesses and help them access both support schemes and credit. That’s the message from the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Finance and Personnel Committee as it responds to the recent Institute of Directors Bank Lending Survey.

Committee Chairperson, Jennifer McCann, MLA said: “The Committee welcomes the continued analysis of these issues by the Institute of Directors. While there are some indications that the situation is improving for local businesses, it is deeply concerning that difficulties in accessing loans or overdraft facilities from banks are still being reported, particularly in terms of additional bureaucracy.

“We are also disappointed at the lack of uptake of the different support schemes that have been made available to small businesses, and this is an issue which members have raised with local banks on a number of occasions. Banks should be actively playing their part in alleviating demands on the business community rather than adding to existing pressures. My Committee intends to continue to pursue this important matter.”

The survey received more than 220 responses from local businesses which presented their experiences of borrowing during the period from April to August this year.


Notes for Editors
  1. The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister.  Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.
  2. As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:
    • consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
    • approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of relevant primary legislation;
    • call for persons and papers;
    • initiate inquiries and make reports; and,
    • consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by its Minister.
  3. Committee Members:

Jennifer McCann (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein)
Peter Weir (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP)
Dr Stephen Farry ( Alliance)
Simon Hamilton (DUP)
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein)
Mitchel McLaughlin (Sinn Fein)
David McNarry (UUP)
Adrian McQuillan (DUP)
Declan O’Loan (SDLP)
Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP)
Dawn Purvis (PUP)

  1. Further information on the work of the Committee is available on the Committee pages of the Northern Ireland Assembly website:

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Debra Savage,
Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Telephone 028 9052 1405
Mobile : 07920 864221