Steve Pateman,
Head of UK Corporate and Commercial Banking,

There is little doubt that many workers in the public sector are feeling nervous. The new coalition government clearly means business when it comes to tackling the deficit and reducing what it sees as runaway spending. The public sector focus on meeting Government targets as the driving force has been replaced by a new reality: costs have to come down, value for money squeezed out of every function, and controls on procurement more clearly delineated. And while the public sector itself is braced for the belt tightening, the knock on effects will also be felt. A huge number of businesses, big and small, rely heavily on Government work, be that outsourced solutions, supply of goods and services and so on. A recent report by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy found a 47% rise in insolvencies amongst public sector suppliers when insolvencies as a whole had fallen 5%.

At Santander we’ve spent a long time designing the right types of solutions for both public sector bodies and the companies they work with. Take supplier payments, for example. Smaller firms often complain about the high cost of finance at the moment, and clearly the availability of bank lending is not at the levels it was three years ago. Supplier payments is designed to solve that problem by allowing buyers to help their suppliers reduce the cost of their finance which in turn can result in strengthened collaborative working and year-on-year savings for the purchasing organisation.

We already provide excellent deposit facilities to a very large number of Local Authorities and are a leading funding and risk management player in the social housing sector. Across the UK, our relationship team’s objective is to pull together our public sector knowledge and specialist expertise across finance, deposits, money management and supply chain. Our solutions help free up public sector managers to focus on their most important job: driving through the efficiencies demanded by Whitehall. It won’t be easy, but we will be there to help every step of the way.

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