Lending to SMEs plunged 77pc following the crash

SHORT-term business loans for small firms in Ireland plummeted 77pc between 2007 and 2011, a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has claimed.
The OECD’s financing small business report said business loans in Ireland fell from €56bn in 2007 to €38bn in 2012.

Short-term loans made up about 90pc of total new SME lending over that period, but the report said these loan volumes plummeted 77pc between 2007 and 2011 to €4.4bn from €19.4bn.

Analysis of 31 countries between 2007 and 2012, showed monetary easing did not result in an increase in credit to SMEs in most countries, the report found.

The OECD highlighted various efforts in Ireland to help boost financing, including the Micro-enterprise Loan Fund Scheme, the Seed and Venture Capital Scheme, the Development Capital Scheme and Innovation Fund Ireland.

But a separate survey yesterday showed satisfaction with the Government’s performance had fallen among small business owners.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) said firms were most annoyed about the Government’s perceived inability to deal with high business costs.

ISME chief Mark Fielding said the restoration of competitiveness and access to credit should be the two main priorities for government.

“These current figures are not a surprise as the SME sector has lost patience with an administration which has lost focus, distracted by their own internal political machinations,’’ he said.

“The sooner the reshuffle, the sooner we can have a government refocused on the economy and the continuing battle for recovery and growth.’’

The overall assessment shows a nine point fall in satisfaction to -41 from -32. It has fallen for the last six months.